Editorial: The good fight against cancer

Helen Chatfield-Weeks, Oak Harbor’s officially designated Town Cheerleader, no doubt offers a hearty “hip, hip, hooray” for all the volunteers involved with the Relay for Life in progress today at North Whidbey Middle School.

A turnout of 115 teams totaling 1,600 participants was anticipated for the 2010 North Whidbey Relay for Life. The goal is to raise an impressive $182,500 to donate to the fight against cancer. Many of those involved in today’s Relay event are cancer survivors themselves or have family members or friends who are in the fight of their lives against cancer.

Volunteers literally work all year long raising funds and otherwise preparing for the annual Relay for Life, inspired by the need to get cancer under control. The multi-faceted disease is the scourge of the modern world. The American Cancer Society tallied 1,479,350 new cases in 2009 in the U.S. alone and an estimated 562,340 cancer-related deaths in the same year. There probably isn’t an adult in Island County who doesn’t know a person who has cancer.

If some genius eventually discovers a foolproof cure for cancer of all types, he or she will go down in history as one of the greatest humanitarians of all time. The good that would result from such a discovery in incalculable, both in terms of the money spent to control cancer and the human suffering that results from the disease.

Unfortunately, no universal cancer cure is anticipated. Instead, progress is steadily being made in controlling the disease, curing some cases and holding other cases in abeyance. It’s a frightening disease that can reoccur at any time, and those fighting it deserve our respect and assistance, as do those who volunteer their time to raise resources to battle cancer.

If you’re not helping with this year’s North Whidbey Relay for Life, consider joining the effort next year. Help save your own life, or that of someone you love.

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