Relay committee hosts cancer forum

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In just last week alone, we have heard of at least four people in our community who have recently been diagnosed with cancer or a recurrence; and sadly, we have also lost several as well.

Many of you know these people or others who are facing the same diagnosis. The American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life, which is in our community in May, is a vital link in providing the necessary funding to allow cancer research to continue. Countless unselfish and tireless volunteers have bake sales, car washes, donkey basketball and many other creative events to raise funds for the cancer research needed to keep youngsters from losing a parent, parents from losing a child, friends from losing a friend.

Because of the dedicated work of so many who help to make the Relay a success, the Miss-Lou Relay for Life Committee likes to give something back to the community each October.

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Many of you know someone with the cancer diagnosis, struggling to get out of the darkness and back into the light. Maybe old, maybe young, but someone who tugs at your heart strings.

As most of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We’ve all seen the pink ribbons on billboards, television, magazine articles and even on the NFL football players. But cancer is not limited to just breast cancer, so during the month of October, the committee hosts the cancer forum. During these forums, we have guest speakers, who consist of area physicians, cancer survivors and caregivers.

These physicians and speakers give us vital information about cancer detection and cancer awareness. We all know how busy doctors are, but these physicians give freely of their time to help us educate the community about real health issues. How do you cope when your wife has just lost a breast? What do you say to the friend whose hair is falling out from strong doses of chemotherapy and radiation? How will you cope financially when your husband is stricken and can’t work? How is this going to affect our family? Come to the forum and find out. Our guest speakers are unashamed and willing to share their stories. They will take your hand and walk with you down that path of uncertainty.

Our physician speaker this year is Dr. Hendrik Kuiper, general surgeon. He came to our area several years ago and is affiliated with Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Also scheduled on the agenda is Charla Knapp, certified family nurse practioner.

Eight-year-old cancer survivor Dajon (DaDa) Prater will give his story of how cancer has affected his young life. DaDa attended Camp Rainbow this past summer, and he has promised to sing one of the songs he learned at camp. I’m sure you won’t want to miss DaDa’s heartwarming story.

Relay teams are encouraged to bring as many participants as they can. The team with the most representatives will get their choice of tent site or larger tent size, space allowing.

The forum is free of charge; we ask only that you come and bring a friend (or two). Refreshments will be provided, and we will have lots of great door prizes. You could be a lucky winner, of both a door prize and lots of great information; but you’ve got to come to get it.

Please join us at 6:30 on Thursday, at Concordia Bank’s new rec room in Vidalia.

Balloons and signs will guide your way to us.

We’ll be looking for you!

Bridgid Martin is the 2011 chairman of the Relay for Life of the Miss-Lou.