Relay for Life a worthy cause

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Relay for Life, one of the country’s largest and most well known charity events returns to the area in the coming weeks.

The American Cancer Society walkathon takes place in Dowagiac Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Dowagiac Union High School athletic track. The Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life takes place the following Saturday, at 10 a.m. on July 18, at Niles High School.

Both of these events are dropping the previous 24-hour schedule for more manageable hours, in an effort to draw more participants to the annual charity event. In the case of the Dowagiac event, organizers have moved the event back to July instead of May, in hopes that the warmer weather will be kinder to the walkers winding their way around the running track.

Despite the changes, both events are dedicated toward the same cause as in previous years: raising funds for cancer research, in hopes of one day achieving the American Cancer Society’s longstanding goal of eradicating the disease from the planet.

While medical advances have improved the chances of cure and survival for millions of cancer patients since the Relay began three decades ago, there is still a substantial need for the dollars the events bring in every year. According to projections released by the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed and 589,430 cancer deaths in the U.S. this year. In Michigan alone, the organization projects that 57,420 people will be diagnosed with the disease.

Despite the need, it appears that interest in the Relay has diminished in recent years. Organizers for the Dowagiac event said that only eight teams have signed up so far to participate Saturday, down from 21 teams that fielded walkers last year.

We encourage residents to try and find a way to get involved with the Relay for Life, in Dowagiac or their own neck of the woods. Be it by walking during the event or simply donating a few dollars, your contribution will make a difference, for both the people battling the disease today and the people who will be affected by in the future.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.