Taking a stand vs. cancer

From the Register-Mail:

Hope and joy filled the air at Friday’s Relay for Life event at Knox College, as hundreds of supporters pledged to fight cancer with all the courage of those who battle the disease on a daily basis.

Survivors were honored, and the memories of those who didn’t win but fought with all their heart were celebrated. Donna Larson’s son Jeff passed away, age 19, after contracting liver cancer. She volunteered at Friday’s relay. “We do it all in memory of Jeff,” she said. “I just don’t want any other families to go through what we’ve been through. I hope someday we never have to hear the word cancer again.”

Joyce Jackson, Galesburg, had attended Relay for Life as a supporter, then as someone battling breast cancer, and now as a survivor…..

Knox County Relay for Life has raised more than $1 million to fight cancer. But just as important is the way the event brings people together and spreads awareness of the disease.

“For me it raises awareness for myself and my age group to really start taking care of yourself and getting yourself checked for breast cancer, for cervical cancer,” said relay volunteer Anne Giffey.

Of course, Relay for Life is also about having fun and there was plenty of that to go around Friday. “We do crazy things because we are all a little crazy,” Giffey said. “Think back to high school and all the things you did on homecoming week, that’s really what relay is like especially later in the night.”

Val Boucher, Roanoke, another volunteer at the event, survived a rare form of leukemia, first 15 years ago and then again five years ago. He was determined to encourage people to take a stand against cancer.

“The reason I’m here tonight is that I’m doing the Fight Back Ceremony,” Boucher said. “That’s an opportunity for you to make a decision to say what will you do in the next 365 days to fight cancer.” He added, “This is an opportunity for everybody to stand up take a pledge and be able to do something to save a life.”