Relay For Life 2015: You Funded That

Relay For Life 2015:

You Funded That

Have you been to the dentist lately? If so, were you asked about your tobacco use? Did the dentist do an exam to check for signs of mouth cancer? If yes – and you support the Relay for Life – you funded that.

Have you had a Pap test? Do you know someone who has? If yes – and you support the Relay for Life – you funded that.

Have you had a PSA test? Do you know someone who has? If yes – and you support the Relay for Life – you funded that.

Have you enjoyed eating out without cigarette smoke? If yes – and you support the Relay for Life – you funded that.

Have you taken tamoxifen following a breast cancer diagnosis? Do you know someone who has? If yes – and you support the Relay for Life – you funded that.

Are you a cancer survivor? Do you know someone who is? If yes – and you support the Relay for Life – you helped save someone’s life.

Where I’m going with this is that all donations given to the Relay for Life or American Cancer Society are immediately put to good use. While advances in research are always the big attention-getters (and rightfully so), other areas vitally important to eliminating cancer are funded, too (patient services, advocacy and education). And since Illinois is a “stand-alone division” within the US, all monies raised in this state, for the most part, stay in this state.

I get asked at least one Relay season why the money raised at our local Relay doesn’t stay “local.” My usual quick answer is, “Do you really want me to control all that money?” (and anyone who knows me is shouting “NO!”). If the money stayed local, one person would be in control of it. They could give it to their uncle’s wife, they could give it to the local team working on a great fundraising idea, they could give it to a Wig Closet. You see, problems would invariably arise about how that money was doled out. I could help a lot of people but I couldn’t get to everyone’s needs.

But… if you pool that money with, say, 102 of your Illinois counties, what do you get? Millions of dollars (nationwide, over $400 million was raised in 2014). That’s a lot of money to find a cure for cancer. More people are surviving cancer than ever before. We have researchers at the University of Illinois School of Medicine working on a promising lung cancer study right now. There are also studies ongoing in pancreatic cancer and colon cancer. We are so close to a cure.

Wouldn’t you love to explain to your grandkids what cancer was – just like our parents and grandparents had to do with polio?

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