Friday, August 5, 2011
Relay For Life
I have copied in to this entry the column I wrote for the St. Peter the Fisherman parish bulletin on July 31. Tonight (August 5) I will walk with the St. Peter's team in the Northwoods Relay for life. I have done this every year since my own diagnosis of prostate cancer 5 years ago. Every year I also try to do something to raise consciousness about the need for getting the appropriate checkups and screenings. This blog entry is part of my efforts in that regard
In the St. Peter's bulletin I wrote:
He (she) has cancer. This sentence is so often whispered in hushed tones. Cancer takes lives and we don’t like to speak about it, yet millions of people have had that statement made about themselves. Five years ago I left Florida in June and was on my way to Eagle River for the summer. I had been biopsied for the third time for prostate cancer, but since the first two times were negative I was confident that this time would be as well. That was not to be. I was in Atlanta visiting friends as I journeyed north when I got the call from my doctor’s office telling me that I indeed did have cancer. Instead of continuing north I had to turn south again and return to Florida. I called Fr. Bob with the news that I would not be able to come to Eagle River that summer.
Fortunately I had been going for regular checkups and cancer screenings and my prognosis for recovery and cure was excellent. After consulting with doctors about possible treatments I chose a radiation approach and things have been just fine so far, though I do get nervous every six months when I go for follow-up exams.
The good news today is that cancer does not in many cases have to be a death sentence. There are millions of us in this country who are survivors and who will be participating in one of the many American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life programs. The Relay celebrates our survival but also works to find both better treatment and even a cure for cancer.
St. Peter’s has a team in the Northwoods Relay for Life called Walkers with Soul. I will be joining several parishioners who will participate as cancer survivors The Relay though is not just for survivors. It is for anyone who wants not only to support them and also for anyone who wants to support the struggle for a cure. Please consider coming out to Northland Pines High School field on Friday evening, Aug 6 for the opening ceremony and for the beautiful luminaria ceremony at dusk where candles are lit in remembrance of those who have died of this disease and honoring the survivors as well. Anyone can join the team even if you are not a cancer survivor.
Finally I urge everyone to get the cancer screenings that are recommended for your age and gender. Granted that there is squeamishness and humor regarding several of these tests, but remember THEY SAVE LIVES. This is so because most cancers can be treated with early detection. That was certainly so in my case. I might also add that care of our bodies and doing the things that prevent not only cancer, but other illnesses as well, is a Christian responsibility. God Bless and hope to see you at the Relay for Life.
For more on the Relay just click below.