Get ready to Relay for Life

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On May 9th, the American Cancer Society will hold its annual New Madrid County Relay for Life at the New Madrid County Elementary School. It will begin at 2 PM and run through 12 midnight.

The Survivor Dinner will be held in the elementary cafeteria beginning at 5 PM with the Survivor lap afterwards. Each survivor can bring one guest. Additional guests are welcome to attend the dinner for a fee of $7.00.

Last year, there were 15 teams that participated in fund raising efforts to help fight the battle against cancer. However not all 15 teams came to the Relay.

In talking to some of the folks about the lack of participants and interest, some say it is because it is an annual event and basically folks are burned out. It seems that like many annual community or county -wide events, that have any longevity, there is only a handful of core people that believe in the event that will do whatever it takes to keep the event up and going. The problem is when those folks cannot do it, for whatever reason, the program just does not continue.

This seems to be a trend is all small rural communities. You look all around you at the surrounding communities and you see what I am talking about. For example, the Lilbourn Volunteer Fire Department and the Kiwanis Club hosted the annual Summer Fun Days. It was the largest summer celebration of the year and several area residents supported it by their attendance and participation. The town's population went down, with graduates moving away from the area, or folks dying. This left only a handful of individuals doing 80 percent of the work with only 20 percent of the people. When the Kiwanis Club folded, so did the Summer Fun Days.

In Portageville, look at the many civic organizations that have been around for years, well established, and had several community functions, now only a memory. Thankfully, the new Portageville Jaycees are not letting this trend get to them. They see the need to keep the wheels rolling with their community efforts. They need to be commended.

The Portageville Chamber of Commerce mainly has four active officers, still manage to work at keeping the town's biggest event up and going, the Annual National Soybean Festival.

I know that when it gets closer to the time for these events, many look for the end before the event starts. People say they are too busy, want to spend time with family. There is nothing wrong with this, so bring the family with you the event.

Back to the Relay for Life event, the whole ideal is to raise awareness and research money for the battle against cancer. I hear a lot of comments that, the promoting of Relay begins too soon, and that more of the money goes to management and not enough to research, or you are just tired of hearing and seeing anything about Relay.

Cancer does not stop because we are tired of hearing about it. It does not have an off and on switch. I get tired of hearing un-kept children screaming and throwing fits. I do not stop what I am doing, I press on harder to the task at hand. The bottom line is, we can make time to do the things that are really important. When we give up when we are tired of hearing about an event, or just do not like people involved, we end up being the losers. It is the community itself and the event that loses. We make up the community and we make up the event. So, when we give up, we give up on our community, the event and ourselves. When we give up because of event organizers, we lower our standards.

My mother recently had breast cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early enough and the tumor removed. With the modern technology, certain types of cancer can now be detected and taken care of, with less recuperating time. Five years ago, she had a stomach cancer removed. I see things a little differently now. I no longer have the thought of that will never happen to me, or my family. Now that is has, I am willing to do my part.