September Cancer Awareness

Paige Morrison
Staff Writer

Word of a cancer diagnosis can completely turn lives around in less than a minute. Cancer, also known as malignancy, is a deadly disease that affects millions of people around the world every day. No matter if a person has cancer, knows someone who has cancer, or treats cancer, it is something that takes a deep place in everyone’s hearts. This disease is characterized by an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, and many more. Symptoms vary according to the type of cancer, as do treatment options, which include radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Each month is dedicated to certain types of cancer awareness supported by the American Cancer Society. September is one of the months that raise awareness for many types of cancer, including prostate cancer, childhood cancer, ovarian cancer, gynecologic cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, and thyroid cancer. Together, cancer societies and other organizations spread awareness for these types of cancer and sometimes even sponsor events to raise money for cancer research.

            One of the types of cancer that is included in the month of September is childhood cancer, which kills more children in the US than any other disease. Each year 13,500 children under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer. The types of cancer that usually occur in children are different from those of adults; common types of childhood cancer are leukemia, brain and other central nervous system tumors, neuroblastoma, wilms tumor, lymphoma, bone cancer, rhabdomyoscarcoma, and retinoblastoma.  Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer; in fact, in 2011 an eighth grader died of leukemia at Woodstock Middle School and left everyone in shock over how fast cancer can take a life. Carlee Redko, a sophomore at Woodstock High School, was a very close friend to her. She said, “The loss made me value life a lot more because I realized how fast it can come and go. It also has made me cherish my friendships much more.” This was a first-hand account of how terrible this disease is for those who have never experienced it before. Childhood cancer is a very serious disease that affects 14 out of every 100,000 kids. It tears families apart and devastates everyone in its path of destruction. A very informative and helpful website about childhood cancer is www.curechildhoodcancer.org. This website provides all the information ever needed about cancer and also gives stories and pictures of particular victims. In addition, it has a spot to donate money to the cause.

There are many races and fundraisers to benefit cancer such as the Race for the Cure, a popular walk/run for breast cancer. People donating and participating help with research greatly, and the children and their families appreciate it tremendously. Every child should have the chance to live a full and exciting life, but with cancer, this is not always possible. A cure for cancer would provide every child a chance to fulfill their life dreams, and this can happen with the support, donations, and prayers of anybody who can take the time out of their day.

            There are people everywhere who devote their lives to helping the cause of cancer and starting organizations and fundraisers to raise money because they have in some way been affected by it. Woodstock High School, and many other schools, has a Relay for Life team who raises funds and awareness about cancer. Mrs. Jean Sellers, social studies teacher, is the team captain who is in charge of the teacher involvement at WHS, and Ms. Robin White, social studies teacher, is the co-captain who takes on the student involvement. Ms. White shared information about events Woodstock has been doing to help the cause of cancer, saying, “Here at Woodstock we just had our Teacher Relay Drive where teachers bought shirts to wear with jeans on Tuesdays as a fundraiser. We raised almost $3,000 by selling to 97 teachers.” That is a huge amount of money and will be greatly beneficial to the cause. Everyone is happy to see their school involved with such an important problem.

Every May schools around the county also take pride in participating in an overnight event that never goes dull. People take turns walking and running around the track at a local high school, and this year the host school is Woodstock. The event starts during the night and ends the next morning. It is full of games, fun, and music for everyone. The event is different every year, but this year it will be held on May 9th, 2014. Students can participate in this event by signing up online. More details about this event are to come as it approaches, and Ms. White and Mrs. Sellers are always available for questions and information. People who participated last year said it was a night to remember, and that they would definitely be doing it again next year.  This event focuses on honoring cancer survivors, remembering lost loved ones, and fighting back at a disease that has already taken too much. The funds raised during this event truly make a difference, and we know this by seeing 14 million cancer survivors celebrate another birthday every year!

Aside from Relay for Life, Woodstock High School also has two other major events planned. Parents Night Out will take place on December 7th. This is a night where parents can drop their kids off at the school for a small fee and go out and have fun without worrying about their kids. It will be run by Relay for Life members, and the kids will be entertained with crafts and other fun games. Another event is the Miss Woodstock Pageant held on October 26th. Woodstock students have a chance to participate in a pageant held at the school. The ticket proceeds will go to cancer. It is also encouraged that people join Relay for Life Club and held to plan and even participate in these events. They meet on the first and third Tuesday of every month to become involved in the cause.

            Cancer touches everyone in some unique way. Mrs. Sellers shares, “I lost an uncle to lung cancer and an aunt to pancreatic cancer. It was the loss of my mother in 2008 to acute leukemia that promoted me to get involved with Relay for Life. Now, my commitment has been renewed since my older brother was diagnosed with brain cancer less than a week ago.” Mrs. White has also lost her grandfather to lung cancer and her grandmother to breast cancer. Some people are affected more greatly than others, but we all know someone who has struggled with cancer. No one should have to go through this torture. Taking small steps, like joining Relay for Life and donating or helping with events, brings us closer and closer to a cure for cancer. Slowly and surely the world will eventually be cancer free, and the hard work will be worth it.

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