As the sun set over the Brattleboro Union High School track on Friday night, a group of purple-clad "Survivors" began the initial lap of the 2012 Windham County Relay for Life.
The purpose of the annual event is two-fold: to raise money for the Relay (this year's goal is $100,000), which in turn will benefit a host of local programs - Resource Centers, Ride-share and Reach to Recovery, to name a few - aimed to help those stricken with cancer; and to offer hope that a cure, someday, will be found.
The walkers began their 14-hour odyssey just after 6 p.m. at the school, and wrapped up this morning around 8. A line of paper lanterns framed the track, paying tribute to those who had lost their battles, while the many participants celebrated those who have survived.
Consider this: According to studies done by the American Cancer Society, about one out of every three American women and one out of every two American men will have cancer at some point in their lives.
And consider this: One of the top donation generators this week here in Windham County was Andrea Scott. She, along with the other members of Team Superhero had generated more than $16,500 as of Thursday afternoon. Scott said she started the team a few years ago with her mother and sister to honor her the memory of her father, who died of cancer. Earlier this year, Scott's mother died of a rare form of cancer.
"Cancer is something that knows no boundaries," Peter Case,
"It's still a disease that's curable," he told the Reformer earlier this week. "It just takes time, money and effort."
Positive news continues to come in drips and drabs from the health community. But while we wait and continue to invest in a search for a cure, there's something more important to take note of here. This walk isn't just a continued call to find a cure. It's about hope ... and passion ... it's about strength and the will to live. That is what should truly be celebrated. So to Scott, Case, and all those others participants, tired after a long night's walk, we salute you and applaud your effort and strength.
For more information about the American Cancer Society, visitwww.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.