Tomorrow is Madera’s Relay for Life at Lions Town and Country Park, and it must be said it would be difficult to find a more worth-while effort.
The committee that brings this annual event off is peopled by bright, energetic, enthusiastic individuals who work in harmony for several months to make it possible.
The concept is simple. Teams of walkers raise money by rounding up pledges and then walking all night around a track set up at the park. During the walks, various teams throw parties, hand out drinks, cook barbecues and make the experience fun and worthwhile for the walkers, who start to get tired after a while and start to feel like going home.
You don’t have to be on a team to walk. A lot of folks, like your intrepid correspondent, have walked alone after dark around the candle-lit path. The candles are in sacks called luminaria, and each has written on it the name of a cancer victim.
The money raised at this Relay for Life and others around the country is turned over to the American Cancer Society, one of the nation’s gold-standard charities. The society funds research into cures for the many types of cancers, and provides help to individual cancer patients who need it.
It also spends money on education so people can be taught to look for early signs of cancer and go see their doctors when they have a concern. I am well acquainted with cancer victims who are with us today because of the effective efforts of the American Cancer Society to explain what to look for that could be indicators of the disease.
Cancer isn’t just an illness. It is a nasty monster that takes over your life and scares you like little else. Knowing that folks in Relay for Life, raising money for the American Cancer Society, can be a comfort — a life-saving comfort for patients and their families.
If you can’t walk tomorrow, get out your checkbook, write a check to Relay for Life, take it to the park and give it to Charlote Brewer, the director. You’ll feel better for the rest of the day.