By all reports, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Lake Oswego, held last Saturday and Sunday at Lake Oswego High School track, was a success.
More than 400 people came together to raise money for cancer research in hope of finding a cure for the disease, which affects every one of us. Team members walked the track for 24 hours, illustrating the fact that cancer doesn't take a break - it is with Americans 24 hours of every day.
The group consisted of cancer survivors, friends, family and caregivers of cancer sufferers. They walked in celebration of beating the disease and in memory of those who have died.
The relay began Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the Survivors Lap. Wearing special purple T-shirts the survivors led the way around the track, showing that cancer can be defeated.
The day was filled with music and special entertainment, costumes, a dunk tank and fun, lots of fun.
A highlight of the event was the Luminaria Ceremony. As darkness fell over the field, the night was brightened by the glow of illuminated bags called luminaria, each bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer. Some bags were made in honor of survivors; others were created in memory of those who died of the disease. The field lights were turned off; relayers continued around the track, perhaps a bit more somber, but also more determined. Still, the underlying feeling was one of hope for a cure.
And the night became the early morning. People kept walking. They tried to sleep, play cards, listen to music or watch movies until it was their turn once again to walk.
Anyone can develop cancer. In fact, the ACS reports that men in the U.S. have a slightly less than 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women the risk is a little more than 1 in 3. The ACS expects about 1,596,670 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2011, and about 1,500 Americans each day will die of cancer during 2011.
'We all know someone with cancer,' said event chair April Abernethy. 'It is so important that we do all we can to find a cure.'
Funds raised through the Relay for Life of Lake Oswego will be used to fund research for a cure for cancer.