If you had a key ingredient for the miracle drug that will cure cancer, wouldn’t you share it with scientists working to concoct the formula?
That isn’t a hypothetical question. Most folks reading these words have at least some of this vital cancer cure component within arm’s reach right now. Women tote it around in their purses. For men, it resides in the back pocket.
Money plays a crucial role in researchers’ efforts to perfect treatments that will prolong patients’ lives and find the elusive combination of drugs that will make cancer a curable disease. Cash may not be part of the chemical compound, but it’s a vital ingredient just the same.
Richmond County residents can help the American Cancer Society in its search for the cure at Friday’s Relay for Life. The event runs from 6 p.m. to midnight at Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium.
Organizers have set a $100,000 fundraising goal. By midweek, relay volunteers had collected just north of $60,000. It will take a great deal of community support to make up the difference.
The Richmond County Relay for Life is a six-hour team walk designed to honor those who lost their lives to cancer, celebrate survivors and help raise money for education, treatment and research. It’s a worthy cause that deserves our support. If you haven’t made a donation to a local relay team, we hope you’ll consider doing so before the event wraps up Friday night.
All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, a reputable and respected nonprofit that’s leading the charge for a cancer cure.
A hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it’s a drop in the proverbial bucket. Each individual cancer patient can easily rack up six figures or more in medical costs.
Research, too, is expensive. Scientists have to develop new medications and test them out in a series of rigorous clinical trials. Then there’s the costly and time-consuming process of gaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.
“It doesn’t matter where the research is happening — it benefits the whole of our community,” said Cameron Whitley, who works for the American Cancer Society as a local Relay for Life organizer. “If a drug is being developed in a hospital in New York, it will help people right here in Richmond County.”
In 2012, the American Cancer Society spent $148 million on research and $280 million on patient support, according to a report available on the group’s website. It awarded 290 research and training grants to the doctors and scientists working to find a cure.
The group also provided 250,000 free nights of lodging to cancer patients and their caregivers and gave more than 1 million rides to patients in need of transportation to doctor appointments and chemotherapy sessions.
Cancer still takes millions of lives each year, but thanks to scientific breakthroughs, the dreaded diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. Cancer mortality rates began declining in the mid-1990s due to advances in treatment. Each day, 350 more people are living to celebrate life’s milestones — the source of the cancer society’s hopeful new slogan, “The official sponsor of birthdays.”
We’d like to see the Richmond County Relay for Life meet and exceed its $100,000 goal. Times may be tight, but if every family and every business pitches in, we can lend a helping hand to those fighting cancer in our community and throughout the nation.