Relay For Life – Is Your Impact Local Or Not?

Karianne Schnitker and Nancy Hish manned a bake sale in front of Farmers and Merchants Bank in Nashville on Friday morning to benefit Relay For Life. Want to help too? Read the column, head to the website, start a team or call Rebecca – there’s plenty of work to be done, and there’s still progress to be made.

Every year, without fail, I will run into someone who will tell me that they used to help/support Relay for Life or the American Cancer Society, and it’s said in such a way that I know the parting wasn’t sweet. 100% of the time, they will tell me they quit because the money didn’t stay local.

Well, that’s stupid.

Do you want me in charge of it? (Emphatically, that is NO.)

Your uncle?

A past year’s event chair?

The guy who works at the bank?

How do you divvy up 50k?

To the kid with cancer?

To the guy who needs rides?

How about the single mom who needs her car worked on?

The complainer is correct in that the money doesn’t physically stay local.

There is no American Society Bank one can go in to and make withdrawals. But…there’s no need to. With one phone call (1-800-227-2345) anyone diagnosed with cancer can get these services. Let me say that again with emphasis

WITH ONE PHONE CALL (1-800-227-2345) ANYONE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER CAN GET THESE SERVICES.

Help with prescriptions, rides to treatment, repairs, overnight stays, wigs. I’m almost certain ACS can help you with whatever your need is, big or small.

While a ride or a stay at Hope Lodge can be very helpful, the best part of the money NOT staying local is that hundreds of thousands of people are walking around today as SURVIVORS because the money was pooled and funded critical research.

Leukemia, tamoxifen, Pap smears, prostate screenings – just a small sampling of what your donations have accomplished in the past 20 years.

Right now, at this very moment, just in Illinois, there are 31 fully funded grants at the University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Loyola and the Carle Foundation hospitals working on everything from a Hepatitis B vaccine that has halted liver cancer, one proving links between a person’s immune system and a tailored patient-specificchemo, and my favorite, the role of inflammation in childhood leukemia (something I always suspected with Emilie).

You can give to lots of great organizations that are helping a variety of people fight many bad things. There’s no shortage of bad things out there. Just don’t use the “it doesn’t stay local” bit as an excuse not to give -especially to the American Cancer Society. Someone’s very life is depending on the research some nerd is working on right now (nerds rule, too).

Let’s all recommit to giving this year to Relay for Life. $20/$50/$50/$100. I think most of us wouldn’t miss that – but someone close to your heart might — when they’re diagnosed with cancer and need that cure.

Rebecca Ruehl

Relay for Life is in Okawville this year on Friday, May 11.