Brittany Westerbeck/Times Bulletin
Relay for Life Committee member Amy Schroeder reads a poem honoring the caregivers of cancer survivors. Honorees were celebrated for their determination and drive to keep the hope alive in the fight against cancer.
Brittany Westerbeck/Times Bulletin Relay for Life Committee member Amy Schroeder reads a poem honoring the caregivers of cancer survivors. Honorees were celebrated for their determination and drive to keep the hope alive in the fight against cancer.
By Brittany Westerbeck

Times Bulletin Multi-Media Coordinator

bwesterbeck@timesbulletin.com

When one hears the word, "cancer," they usually think of negative images like losing hair or even death. However, the topic of cancer was cause for celebration at the Relay for Life's Survivor Cancer Dinner held Thursday night at Trinity Friends Church. Over 300 area cancer survivors and their caregivers met to rejoice in the progress made to beat such a terrible disease. For them, it was about life, determination, and success.

This marks the 25th year for the Relay for Life, and the foundation is asking people to "Show Us Your Hope." That is exactly what the honorees do. They prove that one does not have to give in to cancer. These individuals have not given up hope - the hope for a cure, the hope for survival, and the hope for life. They serve as role models not only to those that have had cancer for a long time, but also to those who are just being diagnosed as well as to those that have loved ones that have cancer or passed away because of it.

The guests of honor were presented with pins, treated to a meal, and entertained by Dane Bailey, the Singing Auctioneer. American Cancer Society Volunteer Sue Apple from Delphos, Ohio also spoke about the Relay for Life. "The money we raise is doing great things," she says, "I encourage you to keep supporting Relay and helping."

Apple went on to talk about the success of the program noting that there are many new medicines being tested that are doing well. "Hopefully we're getting closer and closer to figuring out why there's such a large incidence - especially in this area." Putnam County is the number one county in Ohio for breast cancer in which one out of every four women are diagnosed. She explained that it is through the relays and research that scientists are getting closer to a cure everyday.

Apple also talked about a new cancer study that will be started this summer. This will be the third cancer prevention study ever. The first one was held in the 1960s in which the result found a link between cigarette smoking and cancer, and the second was conducted in the 1980s when a link between weight and cancer was found. In Ohio, there are only ten cities hosting these studies, and Delphos is fortunate to be one of them.

She explained that Delphos was chosen because of its location between Van Wert and Lima. The hope is that several people will be willing to travel to the city to be a part of the study. The American Cancer Society wants to enroll 500,000 people for the study. The requirement is that you must be between the ages of 30 and 65 and never been diagnosed with cancer. To participate, individuals must go to the Delphos Community Track on Friday, June 19 between 6 - 10 p.m. The process should take about 20 minutes and includes filling out paperwork and surveys, a waist measurement, and a blood sample.

Following the enrollment process, chosen individuals will be required to fill out surveys a couple of times a year for up to 20 years. While it does not take much time, it is a long-term commitment. Apple is encouraging everyone to tell friends, family, and others that are eligible. Her hope is that through this study, "nobody will have to hear those words 'You have cancer.'"