Perhaps you were one of 765 participants at Barrington High School last weekend. Or one of the 26 teams at Hersey High School. Or perhaps you are planning to show up at Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream on Friday or Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. Will you be one of many who will participate at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva?
No matter where you live, you can find a nearby Relay For Life fundraiser. In fact there are more than 5,200 Relays across the country. And the events have raised more than $4.5 billion since they began in 1986.
Those are impressive numbers. Locally, the Barrington event last weekend raised $182,280 with a matching grant from the Duchossois Family Foundation of $100,000. At Hersey, they started the event with $52,667 committed to the cause. And at Elk Grove High School, another $30,889 was committed heading into the weekend event. Twenty-four more local events will be held between now and the weekend of Aug. 17-18.
If you haven't participated or donated, please consider doing so. But not necessarily because of these impressive numbers. Do so because of the people involved and the life-changing experience you could have by encountering them.
"My grandma was my absolute best friend," Chrissy Jones of Carol Stream told the Daily Herald's Christie Willhite. "I walk not only to end this horrible disease but also to represent my best friend. I will forever be a Relay supporter because I refuse to let the cancer win."
"I Relay so we can finally stop cancer in its tracks. When we put a lid on cancer, I'll pack up and go home. Until then, I Relay," said Kris Olson of Hoffman Estates, a survivor of three bouts of cancer.
"I Relay because I am grateful to God that I am alive," said Doogie Mayberry of St. Charles, a breast cancer survivor. "I Relay for my dad, sister, sister-in-law and many friends who fought the battle so bravely and lost."
Relay For Life supports efforts to fund research and programs to help cancer patients and their families and caregivers. The money raised is important; the effort put forth is cathartic, for survivors and family members.
"On March 24, 2001, my mom told me that she was cancer free. I will never forget that day and where I was when I heard the news. That was the happiest I had ever been," said Nick Petruzzi of Lombard. "I now continue to Relay, not only for my mom, but for everyone who as been affected by cancer because I know how difficult it is on an entire family."
Very few of us have not been affected by cancer in some way. More than 1.6 million new cases are estimated for 2012, including more than 65,000 in Illinois. We urge you to participate yourself or contribute to someone you know. It is well worth your investment of time and money.