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10 reasons to go to Central Park today

Join 10th annual 'Relay for Life' benefits SCV American Cancer Society

Posted: May 31, 2008 2:29 a.m.
Updated: August 1, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 

As of 9 a.m. today, thousands of Santa Clarita Valley residents will be excitedly joining together at Central Park.

There for "A Passport to Hope," the American Cancer Society Santa Clarita Valley Unit's 10th annual Relay For Life, these people are entwining hearts and forces in the fight against cancer.

Many have battled the disease; many are now in treatment; others have been affected through loved ones or friends experiencing cancer.

All will be present at the 24-hour event because they crave the day when cancer becomes a wholly treatable disease and is no longer included in the list of illnesses that prematurely end life.

That awesome breakthrough will mean many more children will reach adulthood, and many more parents will witness their kids growing up.

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

On the outside chance that your plans today do not include attending the Relay for Life - even for a brief time - then please read these 10 reasons why this American Cancer Society volunteer thinks you should.

- Relay for Life is one of the most heartwarming, camaraderie-inspiring, and memorable experiences you will ever know.

- The ACS' signature fundraiser, Relay raises possibilities for a cancer-free tomorrow as it raises money for the following: innovative cancer research conducted by peer-reviewed scientists (many of whom are Nobel laureates); free local programs and services to people facing cancer; education, advocacy and more.
(Since the 1950s, ACS research studies have yielded tremendous findings, playing a major role in cancer prevention here in the States and internationally).

- Opening ceremonies include a poignant survivors' first lap that is sure to evoke tears and cheers. Open to all cancer survivors (whether in treatment or remission), the Honorary Survivor Walk will include hundreds of cancer survivors victoriously walking together.

- Survivor speakers will captivate the crowd as they candidly describe their cancer journeys and appreciation for life.

- From 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today, a special cancer study gets under way at Relay - and we need you!

The Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3 study) is an historic, long-term ACS research project seeking to better identify the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer. We're looking for 500 people from our valley to join the study. (In all, the ACS is recruiting 500,000 adults across the United States and Puerto Rico.) Joining is easy, involves a questionnaire, a simple blood test and then periodic follow-up questionnaires. If you're between 30 and 65 years of age, have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer) and are willing to make a long-term commitment here, then do this: Look for the CPS-3 tent at Relay and then introduce yourself to Donna Ashmore, our CPS-3 chair.

- Tonight, a Luminaria Ceremony beautifully pays tribute to those who have lost their battles with cancer, honors survivors, and offers gratitude to caregivers. It's highlighted by music, speeches and a communal candlelit walk around the breathtaking, luminaria-lit path.

- There will be plenty of delicious food, great music and other forms of entertainment, games and raffles, cancer information, activities for children and much more.

- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (only exceeded by heart disease).
- Every day in this nation, cancer claims 1,500 men, women and children.

- Cancer affects us all in one way or another: It knows no boundaries as far as race, ethnicity, background, income, professional aspirations, desires to see the Tooth Fairy, or how many people love and need you to stay on this earth.

For more information visit www.scvrelay.org.

Central Park is located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus.

Diana Sevanian is a writer and Santa Clarita resident.

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