Fighting back against cancer | Editorial

Cancer is a scourge of our modern world, one of the diagnoses we most fear  from our doctor, but at least it’s not the death sentence it once was.

Progress in fighting cancer has been slow, with treatments for different  forms of the disease being developed every year. No single miracle cure is likely, but with continued funding of research, gains are continually made.

That’s one of the reasons today’s Whidbey Island Relay for Life is so important. Volunteers have been working all year to prepare for this event, which began with its grand opening at North Whidbey Middle School yesterday afternoon. All night long people have been marching around the school track, cancer survivors and their supporters, raising money for the fight against cancer. With music and cheers and enthusiastic teams of fundraisers from various businesses and community groups, the atmosphere is festive, not solemn. The entire island is represented as the South Whidbey Relay for Life joined the North Whidbey effort, resulting in a single Whidbey Island Relay for Life. It’s good to see the community united in one effort against a common enemy that takes many forms.

The Relay for Life of Whidbey Island raises many thousands of dollars each year to contribute to the American Cancer Society, and the money’s important. But more-so, perhaps, is the feeling of camaraderie the event creates in its ability to bring people with cancer together, along with their family and friends, to show they’re not alone in the battle. It might seem so most of the year, when they’re driving to radiation or chemotherapy treatments, and worrying about the outcome when they’re feeling sick or alone. The beauty of Relay for Life is that it shows they’re not alone, and if they get involved, they can keep relationships made at the North Whidbey Middle School track year around.

For a quick injection of inspiration, stop by the middle school track, visible from Highway 20 just past Whidbey Avenue, and watch the activities. Talk to participants, thank the organizers, watch the smiles and join the walk if you want. One day, cancer will be like the plague, a terrible disease of the past. In part, we’ll have the Whidbey Island Relay for Life to thank for it.




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