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Rally for a cure under development

Shanna Hayes, Community Development manager for the North Region Relay For Life, speaks on Tuesday at the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

It strikes fear in the hearts and minds of thousands each day, it breaks up families, it causes immense pain and suffering for everyone it touches, and it’s the last word a person wants to hear from a doctor – yes, the dreaded “C” word – cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in three people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. There’s an old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” meaning that it’s easier to prevent something from happening in the first place than to repair it after the damage has been done.

The American Cancer Society is no different in that when it comes to cancer, prevention is the key.

Shanna Hayes, Community Development manager for the North Region Relay For Life spoke on Tuesday at the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce. There are some major changes coming to Relay For Life this season, the biggest change being that there won’t actually be a “relay”.

The new campaign, called “Rally for a Cure” will become one large fundraising campaign, rather than one, single Relay for Life event. Following the campaign, there will be a big celebration to recognize survivors, contributors, and teams.

“Our hope is that by changing to a campaign rather than one single-targeted event, we can gain a lot more participation,” said Hayes. “We will still have team events, such as bake sales and 5Ks, in addition to ticketed events.”

“When cancer strikes, it strikes from all sides,” said Hayes, “and that’s why we try to fight back from all sides.”

Hayes reported that the American Cancer Society is currently funding $390 million in cancer research grants and has funded $4.6 billion in research since 1946. In addition, 47 of ACS funded researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize over the years.

“We empower people to take steps to prevent cancer or find it early, provide screening guidelines to physicians, fund grants to reduce cancer in at-risk communities, provide educational materials, create awareness, and so much more,” said Hayes.

Hayes stated that one of the most exciting new things in recent development is the creation of “take-home cancer screening tests.” Anyone interested in getting information on these new tests that can be done at home and sent back by mail, or anyone needing any information or direction involving cancer can call the ACS Patient Services Hotline at 1-800-227-2345.

The focus for Tuesday’s meeting was what can be done to assist St. Francois County Relay For Life or Rally for a Cure as it will be known this year. “The best thing people can do is sign up to participate in the campaign,” said Hayes.

To join the campaign, individuals and teams can go to relayforlife.org/stfrancoismo and click on “Join,” and create a log-in.

A drop-in event has been scheduled for April 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at El Tapatio in Park Hills. Anyone from the community is welcome to stop by and obtain information on the Rally for a Cure Challenge.

“Keep an eye on the St. Francois County Relay for Life website and the Facebook page for details on coming events,” said Hayes.

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Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at mmcfarland@dailyjournalonline.com.

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