Relays are saving lives

Hours and hours of walking, plus a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, have culminated in yet another successful effort by some very caring Ohio Valley residents, as the 2018 season of area Relays for Life has wrapped up.

There were survivors’ laps and dinners, lighted luminaria in memory of those lost to cancer and hundreds of teams participating, each sponsored by citizens, organizations, local businesses and churches, all with the same goal of being dedicated to raising funds to fight the disease right here in the valley.

To date, the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society Relay held June 2 at the Follansbee Middle School athletic field has garnered more than $26,000. This year’s event featured more than 200 participants, a balloon launch, games and music, as well as free food. And unique to the Brooke-Hancock event, Relay volunteers there decorated public areas in municipalities in purple and white, the Relay’s official colors, and invited area businesses to do the same with storefronts to create awareness.

And, last weekend at the Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium on the campus of Indian Creek High School, it was the 2018 version of the Relay for Life of Jefferson County, formerly the Steubenville Area Relay for Life.

This event featured the ceremonial opening lap led by Emily Russell of Richmond, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January. Teams of relay participants walked, enjoyed live entertainment, food, music, a luminary ceremony and other activities.

To date, approximately $83,000 of the goal has been reached to benefit cancer research, patient services, education and advocacy, but donations are continuing to be accepted.

As an added note, we think it’s important to recognize the many Jefferson County schools, as well as Brooke and Hancock county schools, that held mini relays and together raised more than tens of thousands of dollars for this cause.

Again, the ultimate goal of all relays is the fight against cancer, and that’s especially important in our area, which continues to have some of the highest rates of cancer in the nation.

The relays are a culmination of the efforts of literally hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who give of themselves to help family members, friends and even people they’ve never met. The relays also serve as a reminder that we must continue to do all we can to promote healthy living, early prevention and support the medical advances and researchers who are, as the cancer society motto goes, trying to create a world with more birthdays.

For so many people, the Relay for Life remains a beacon of hope in the Tri-State Area. Every contribution, no matter the amount, keeps hope alive in the fight against cancer.