The State of Relay

By Andrea Mazzocco

In 2010, cancer became the leading cause of death worldwide. In the United States alone, 1,500 people per day died from cancer. It is a devastating disease, affecting every race, ethnicity, gender, age and class.

It is very possible that almost every reader of this newspaper knows of someone who has been diagnosed with cancer because it is estimated that over 11 million Americans have a history of cancer.  Not only that, but cancer has now become an economic monster.  The National Institutes of Health estimate that the “costs of cancer in the US for the year 2010 [were] $263.8 billion: $102.8 billion for direct medical costs, $20.9 billion for indirect morbidity costs, and $140.1 billion for indirect mortality costs” according to Cancer Facts and Figures in 2010.

Cancer occurence according to location and gender
Cancer occurence according to location and gender

What is being done to stop this disease? The American Cancer Society, the official sponsor of more birthdays, is already saving 350 birthdays per day with its life-saving cancer research and programs.

According to the 2010 Annual Report, the Society in that same year “funded more than $107 million for 222 research grants and 54 training grants to help discover the causes and cures of cancer.” Their cancer research grants have yielded 44 Nobel Prize winners. Their programs are geared toward three major goals: helping people stay well through prevention and education, helping people get well through resources and support and helping people fight back through government policies and fundraising events.

One such fundraising event, the American Cancer Society’s signature event, is Relay for Life. Relay for Life is an overnight team event that raises money and awareness for these programs and research. It is also a community event that brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate, remember and fight back. Participants celebrate those who have been affected by cancer, remember those who have lost their battle and pledge to fight back against the disease.

In the 2010 Relay season, this pledge to fight back resounded across the world. The 5,146 Relay for Life events spanning 19 countries raised over $388 million, a $2 million growth from the previous year. There were 216 Relay for Life events in Ohio, including the Relay for Life at The University of Akron.

The University of Akron chapter of Relay for Life 2010 raised over $42,000 for the American Cancer Society. In the last five years, it has raised over $150,000. Over 2,000 people have attended in the last two years, making it a community event for the University.

Relay for Life 2012 of The University of Akron will be held on Friday, April 20 through Saturday, April 21 from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. at Lee Jackson Track. Join the fight by attending a team meeting on either Monday, September 26 or Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 312 of the Student Union.