Being touched by cancer becomes personal

Published 10:23 am Friday, April 26, 2013

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

­­— Mother Teresa

Cancer — The big C is a nasty word and an even nastier disease. The thing about Cancer is it comes in so many forms. Breast cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, bone cancer, liver cancer, and the list goes on and on. I’ll wager every one of you reading this column has been touched by this disease in one way or another, whether you yourself have fought the fight and succeeded or are in the midst of fighting; or a loved one; or a friend.

Every year folks all over start gearing up for Relay for Life events. Relay provides many different avenues for fundraisers to help raise money for cancer research. Each year, more than four million people in over 20 countries take part in Relay events and raise much-needed funds and awareness to help save lives.

On a personal note, my daughter’s young life has been touched in several instances by cancer. At the age of 20, she has lost two of her aunts on her father’s side of the family to breast cancer. First she lost her Aunt Cheryl and then she lost her Aunt Kim — sisters who lost the fight.

Courtney was extremely close to both of these fine women and it affected her immensely – to the point that she participates in events for the cause whenever she can.

This weekend, she is traveling from college at UNC-Greensboro to walk/run in an official 5K event in support of a group called “Cheryl’s Girls” started by her cousin. The race begins at 7 a.m. Saturday at Chowan University, with other Relay activities planned throughout the weekend. My daughter and her father will walk together.

While I’m very excited she’s coming this way so I’ll be able to see her and spend time with her, I’m more proud of the fact that she’s taking time the week before finals to take part in this event. This is not the first time she’s championed Breast Cancer awareness and I am sure it won’t be the last. It has become a platform of sorts for her and I am sure it is the same for thousands of other young people across the globe that have been touched by the loss of a loved one because of cancer.

I hear from others that locally, Relay for Life fundraisers are a big deal and that the Franklin and Southampton Community always raises a great deal of money for the cause. That, too, makes me proud.

Anytime you participate or donate gets us one step closer to cures, treatment and further research.

I’ve had a friend raise money by skydiving; and I have a friend getting ready to shave off his long locks — all in the name of helping others.

Good for them for donating time, courage, even hair, for such a worthy cause. And we can all pray for those experiencing the pain of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease and for those living with the reality every single day.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

— Maya Angelou

LUCY WALLACE is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her email address is