EDITORIAL | Relay for Life raises awareness, funds for cancer research, aid

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It touches all of us.

That’s why events like Relay For Life of Whidbey Island are so important. This past weekend 20 teams raised more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society.

This event was one of more than 6,000 Relay For Life events held each year across the globe.

Those funds go for cancer research and patient support through programs that help families with travel and lodging.

In 2014, the cancer society fulfilled nearly 800,000 requests for cancer information, connected patients with ongoing studies, provided 276,000 nights of free lodging to nearly 44,000 patients and caregivers.

With more than 120 sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer. In 2014, 56,000 patients received help understanding their cancer diagnosis and were connected to the resources they needed.

As the largest private, not-for-profit funder of cancer research, having spent more than $4 billion on cancer research since 1946, the cancer society has played a role in nearly every cancer breakthrough in recent history.

Again, cancer doesn’t discriminate.

For 18 hours groups walked the track at North Whidbey Middle School. Around and around they went well into the night.

As darkness hit, lighted luminaria bags lined the track illuminating pictures, messages and words of love and encouragement for those lost to cancer or those who are still fighting it.

Most everyone at the event has been touched by cancer in one way or another.

Events like this not only bring members of their community together, but tie the great Whidbey community to a much larger, global endeavor.

Participation was down during this year’s Whidbey Island event, but fundraising was still strong.

Consider forming a team and joining in this worth-while cause next year.