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Great Relay for the cause

The decision to postpone the Suffolk Relay for Life this year seems to have been a good one.

With inclement weather threatening the May event, organizers made the decision to hold off for better weather. They got it in spades last Friday, when the event went off at Nansemond River High School with beautiful weather and all of the activities that had been planned, plus more.

Hundreds of people attended and were able to enjoy the event and all of its activities safely. It’s probably safe to say more money was raised and there was nowhere near the level of damage to the field, as well.

All of that means that the decision to postpone the event, while it was tough, was meaningful to the event and its participants.

Raising money for the American Cancer Society is an important mission for those participate in Relay for Life. In 2018, an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and 609,640 people will die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. The five most common cancers in 2018 are estimated to be breast, lung and bronchus, prostate, colon and rectum and melanoma. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes. In 2016, there were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. The number of cancer survivors is expected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026.

In addition to the toll on human lives and quality of life, there’s a real cost to cancer. Estimated national expenditures for cancer care in the United States in 2017 were $147.3 billion. Costs are likely to increase in the future.

The good news is that the overall cancer death rate in the United States fell by 25 percent between 1990 and 2014. Death rates for many individual types of cancers have also declined.

The work of the American Cancer Society serves not only to help cancer survivors fight the disease but also to conduct research into new screenings and treatments that can help more people become survivors.

We appreciate the Suffolk Relay for Life not only for putting on an excellent, well-coordinated event every year but also for, more importantly, raising more money for the fight against cancer. Well done to everyone on the Relay team.