On June 23, the community of Rexburg gathered in support of Relay for Life at 6 p.m.. The event took placed at the Madison Jr. High track. The theme was Superheroes: Fighting Cancer, and participants walked or ran the track for six hours.
According to relayforlife.org, Relay for Life is a charity event run completely by volunteers. Members of a community can then sign up as a team and participate in a relay. The relay itself continues through the night, representing that cancer never sleeps. One member of each team must be walking around the track always, creating the sense of a relay.
Those not walking and those who did not participate in the relay showed their support by wearing purple or pink, or dressed as a superhero. They could either participate in games or cheer on the relay participants, all while being educated about cancer.
Samantha Lewis, a freshman studying exercise physiology, donned purple clothing to support the event. While studying in the health field, she has seen how cancer can affect lives.
“I think that Relay for Life is a great fundraiser,” Lewis said. “This event has been super cute and fun. I am really proud of everyone who is here. Walking for six hours straight isn’t always an easy thing to do. Then again, neither is dealing with cancer.”
According to cancer.org, there will be 1,688,780 new diagnosed cases of cancer in 2017. Of the existing 15.5 million cancer patients today, it is expected that 1,650 patients will die each day, adding up to nearly 600,920 deaths in 2017. However, due to research and support from charities like Relay for Life, there have been 2.1 million fewer cases of cancer in the past 20 years.
Levi Allred and his wife, who are both in the medical field, also came out to support the event. Working in the hospital, they have seen how cancer can make families suffer. Allred said while cancer may not have a cure, the least they can do is show their support.
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“Cancer is a pretty awful thing, it kills so many people each year,” Allred said. “By just showing that you care, even if it is just by attending events like these, you could be changing someone’s life. My wife and I don’t have cancer, butwho’s to say our children won’t?”
Cancer.org reported that as of 2016, there were over 15 million cancer survivors. It also reported that the survival rate has increased to 67 percent.
Sheila Guest, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia when she was 18 years old. Guest, a freshman studying recreation management, said her cancer has been in remission for two and a half years.
Guest discovered she had cancer when she got her physical for her mission. She was told there was something wrong with her blood, and after further investigation, doctors discovered Guest had APL in its earlier stages. Guest underwent months of chemotherapy and lost weight and hair. After her cancer was declared in remission for the second time, Guest was finally able to serve her mission.
“God is real and faith can do anything,” Guest said. “It’s a mental battle and I’d say it’s more mental than physical. If your mind’s not in it, you’re not going to make it. Everybody needs somebody in their life. I don’t care if it’s cancer or you bombed your final. Anything that is hard in life, we need somebody else. We have so much potential. If you have the help and support, anything is possible.”