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Neighbors help neighbors fight battle with cancer

Neighbors help neighbors fight battle with cancer

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013 8:00 pm
By: By Donna Ryder

Neighbors help neighbors fight battle with cancer | Donna Ryder, Just A Thought

Every day, someone learns they or someone they know has cancer.
The disease is no respecter of persons. It can affect everyone — old or young, black or white, rich or poor.
According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2013 (Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2013), about 13.7 million Americans alive on Jan. 1, 2012, had a history of cancer. They had either had it and beat it or they were still fighting it. About 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013 and about 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people per day, this year.
Some cancers can be cured easily — as is the case with one family member’s skin cancer, which was removed with surgery — while others eventually cause death — which is the case with my aunts who lost their battle with breast cancer and my maternal grandfather who lost his battle with colon cancer. Though it is not what killed my mother, our family learned the week after she died that she had colon cancer. My paternal grandparents also had cancer.
Cancer can be physically, emotionally and financially draining. With the history of cancer in my family, I have made the decision to purchase a cancer policy. Should I ever get cancer, I will know the disease will not be as big of a burden on my husband and children as it could have been. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to be able to make that financial decision. Some people may not even have a health insurance policy. Without any assistance from insurance, and even with insurance, cancer treatments can be demanding on the pocketbook. Not to mention, travel expenses  incurred when treatment has to be taken in other cities.
As it has been evidenced recently in Oklahoma, community members pull together when their fellow citizens are in need. That is also the case in Obion County. When friends and loved ones are sick, we pull together to raise money to help make their lives a little easier. We do it individually; as small groups, as the Obion County Central High School Class of 1989 did a few years ago when a dear friend and classmate was losing his battle with pancreatic cancer; and we do it on a grand scale, which has been the case every year for more than a decade with the Obion County Hometown Walk of Hope.
Family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and organizations have formed teams every year and held events to raise money for Walk of Hope. Before its existence, the Obion County Cancer Agency had a mere $500 per year to assist families with their needs. Now, thanks to the hundreds of people who raise money every year, more than $1 million has been raised over the past 12 years to help Obion Countians with medical expenses, as well as expenses traveling for medical treatment and everyday expenses they can no longer afford because of the illness.
Many of you have already helped out this year by purchasing food from the numerous cookouts, purchased a raffle ticket, participated in a poker run or entered your child in a beauty pageant.
This Saturday, everyone in the community will have another chance to help out at the Walk of Hope event. Even if you are not on a team, you can still go to the Obion County Fairgrounds, where the event has been moved because of inclement weather, to buy a barbecue sandwich or other delicious offering being sold by the teams who will still be raising money to help their friends and neighbors. I know I’m looking forward to the cotton candy which will be offered by the E-911 team. You can also buy a luminary in honor or memory of someone you know who has cancer. The event will begin at noon.
Who knows, in the near future, it may be you who needs the assistance offered by Walk of Hope.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at dryder@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.31.13

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