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Teams gear up for Relay for Life

The American Cancer Society is obsessed with numbers. It knows every number associated with a cancer statistic represents an individual, family, friend and community affected by the diagnosis. According to cancer.org, 15 years ago the society set aggressive goals for 2015 to measurably reduce the impact of cancer, decrease cancer mortality by 50%, reduce cancer incidence by 25% and improve quality of life for people with the disease. ective, money raised by the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life provided research that developed the medications and knowledge that allowed my husband Mark Andrews to be counted a cancer survivor and celebrate another birthday with his family,’ said Renee Andrews. ‘Through your generous support his statistic is counted not in the one in four death rate from cancer but as one of the 350 lives saved each day. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.’ In recent years, both incidence and death rates for all cancers have decreased for men and women. Since the early 1990s more than 767,000 cancer deaths have been averted. Today, the ACS is helping prevent 350 cancer deaths a day with a goal of 1,000 a day by 2015. Five year survival rates continue to improve from 50% in the late 1970s to 66% today. The more than 11 million Americans who are cancer survivors ‘“ twice the number from just 20 years ago ‘“ are living proof of progress toward these goals. Despite this progress, cancer.org states cancer remains the leading killer in the U.S. for those under age 85 and accounts for one of every four deaths. More than 1.5 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed and 1,500 people a day or more than 500,000 were expected to die from the disease in 2011. From a local perspective, through the efforts of the ACS signature fundraising event, Relay for Life of Pike County, more than $35,000 was raised in 2011 through the efforts of 298 participants, while 250 cancer survivors were identified in Pike. Members of the community who benefitted directly from money raised this year included seven cancer patients who had transportation to treatment through the Road to Recovery program, four patients who received lodging at the Hope Lodge in Atlanta for a total of 30 days (the cost is $1,000 per day for a total of $30,000), two patients who received assistance with payment for medications and two who received Look Good Feel Better services. For information on any of the programs go to cancer.org or call ACS community manager Rachel Newcomer at 770-631-0625. For information on how to become involved in Pike Relay for Life call chairman Angel Stowers at 770-713-1579. The next meeting is Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Pike County Middle School media center. Hear from a guest speaker, receive updates from team captains and share good food and fellowship.

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