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2017 Relay For Life: More People Living With It Than Dying From It

By Rebecca Ruehl

    I posted this question on Facebook a week or so ago.  “Friends. I need your help. If you or a family member is a cancer survivor, would you type their names in the comments section. It’s for a Relay article. And yes, I can use “first name last initial” for anonymity.”

Thirty-Four friends replied with a name or names of family members diagnosed with cancer.  I guess that about 100 people saw the post, some wouldn’t comment on a post EVER, and others have no one with cancer in their family, which is fabulous. Math was never my best subject – and this is certainly no CNN poll… but I’d guesstimate that about 40% of the people I’m actively friends with on Facebook have someone in their family who is a cancer survivor.

That is a shocking percentage but it reflects the nationwide cancer stats. According to the American Cancer Society, 38% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. We eat the wrong things, don’t exercise like we should, breath in things that aren’t good for us, lie in the tanning bed, smoke – and so many other things that are known to cause cancer. When you add these risks to the ones you’re born with, it’s a bit easier to see how we get to that 38%.

It is estimated that there are 14,483,830 men and women living as survivors of the 10 most prevalent cancers as of January 1, 2014.  The biggest majority of them – 64% – were diagnosed five or more years ago. A whopping 15%, or about 123,000 people, were diagnosed more than 20 years ago.

PEOPLE!  For the past 2 decades, the cancer trend that is the most exciting is MORE PEOPLE ARE LIVING WITH CANCER THAN DYING FROM IT. While it’s traumatic and awful and just ‘bring you to your knees’ scary to get that diagnosis, for so many cancers in 2017, you do the treatments and you survive.  5-10-15-20 years – or forever, which is completely fine with me.

People are statistically living longer and healthier following a cancer diagnosis – and that is great news. Where once a cancer diagnosis meant a certain death, your donations year after year are making a real difference to those diagnosed with cancer. You are providing the money necessary to fund critical research that allows these people to transition from patient to survivor.

These people represent the progress that has been made in the fight against cancer. Having more birthdays, seeing kids graduate, weddings, baseball games, swim meets, boring city council meetings, trips to Target or Nordstrom Rack – all things these people enjoy today because you gave that donation.  And on their behalf – THANK YOU!

Emilie Halfacre., Kevin J., Debbie K., Bill G., Margaret M., Karen M., Donna M., Sam L., Ben L., Sue W., Charley B., Erin R., Janet C., Richard F., Sandra C., Bruce G., Virginia F., Melanie O., Jimmy B., Beth P., Desiree F., Donald A.,kathy Wood, Jon B., Alvin W., Helen B., Bob R., Jim White, Alvina Marlow, Rhonda R., Barbara Ford, Bob Ford, Richard S., Richard H., Mary K., Dolly McFeron, Judy Smolley, Don Wisniewski, Bob Geppert, Paula Bergman, Loretta Smith, Gerald W., Laura B., Ginger H., Ed H., Doris Schuette McConnell, Phil Frerker, Carolyn D., Terry Campbell, Kathy C., Roger C., Palma S., Charlie Szabelski, Carol W., Tracey L., Billy J., Diane F., Kelsey C., Debby A., Lorie H., Toni Z., Mari R., and Terry and Andy R.

Join me and so many others for this year’s Relay for Life at Okawville Community Club on Saturday June 24 starting at 4pm to Celebrate. Remember. and Fight Back against cancer.

Relay for Life 2017 is on Saturday, June 24 at the Okawville Community Club from 4-10pm. Go online to for more information.

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