Archuleta County Relay for Life preparing for 19th annual event

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Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon Survivors gather at a previous Archuleta County Relay for Life. This year’s relay is set for June 18, and the event’s committee is holding an informational meeting Feb. 25.
Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon
Survivors gather at a previous Archuleta County Relay for Life. This year’s relay is set for June 18, and the event’s committee is holding an informational meeting Feb. 25.

By Paul Lehmann
Special to The PREVIEW

With the turning of the calendar to 2016, it is time to start preparing for our community’s Relay for Life. Once again, our Archuleta County event will be held at Town Park on Saturday, June 18.

As in past years, there will be a kickoff social hour and meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Coyote Moon Bar and Grill. Everyone from survivors, caregivers, team captains, relay teammates and all our sponsors are invited to attend.

Recently, the Cancer Journal for Clinicians published annual statistics on the progress that has been made thanks to fundraisers like ours and others across the world in the fight against cancer. This reports states that the death rate due to cancer fell 23 percent between 1991 and 2012, which translates to more than 1.7 million lives saved. These are encouraging numbers and lift our hopes; unfortunately, the facts are that almost 1.7 million new cancer cases, spread equally across men and women of all ages including children, are occurring every year.

The top types are lung, colon, prostate and breast cancers in adults and leukemia in children.

Due to fundraising efforts like ours, screenings and treatments have been developed that are allowing for more of these cancers to be caught earlier, cured earlier and lives saved.

This information is certainly encouraging; however, with over 100 known cancer diseases, some of which are stubbornly resistant to treatment, the fight to find the cure is far from over. For more statistics and details on the various cancers, go to www.cancer.org and select the “Annual Cancer Statistics Report.”

The American Cancer Society is the nonprofit organization that sponsors over 3,200 relays around the world, which are the primary fundraisers. As one of the largest nonprofit donors to cancer research for all types of cancer, some of the funds come back to our community to support local cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. This comes in the form of fuel assistance and lodging during treatments, road to recovery rides and multiple cosmetic items. For more information on what is available and to receive these funds, contact the 24-hour cancer information and support hotline at (800) 227-2345.

Prior to the kickoff party, go to www.relayforlife.org/archuletacountyco to sign up as a team, as a relayer on a team or as a survivor; it is free to sign up. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a team to sign up with, come to the kickoff and we will find a team for you to join, or sign up at the event.

The Archuleta County Relay for Life committee is looking forward to seeing you on Feb. 25 to answer your questions and find a way for you it get involved with our community fundraiser.

For more information, contact Paul Lehmann at 507-0345.