The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letter to Editor

"A Relay For Life Junkie!"

Dear Editor,

I am a Relay For Life junkie.

I volunteer for the American Cancer Society for reasons such as what happened at the Henderson County Relay last weekend. Please read!!!

It's after 10 pm and along the West Central track there lies hundreds of lit luminaria bags.

As they are reading names of all those who have lost the fight to this deadly battle and all those who are as of now cancer survivors, my 6 year niece looks at me & says, "Aunt Lissa why does chemo therapy make your hair fall out?"

I kid you not, 6 years old and we stood along that track hugging one another and we listened to them call out both my mother's name and my grandfather's name and we had a very adult like conversation about why cancer is so powerful and how it takes the strongest medicines such as "chemo" and radiation to get rid of the cancer cells from ones body.

I am not telling you this because I think that my niece is brilliant, but rather to have you ask yourself:

"When was the last time that I thought about CANCER?"

"When's the last time I took into consideration what cancer patients and their families may be going through?"

"When's the last time I've given a hug to a cancer survivor just because I could..."

I could go on and on, but I won't. I think that you get the point. So many people go through life everyday not ever worrying about that word. Please don't wait until it's too late to worry about it.

Today as I prepared for the Relay For Life of Des Monies County (Iowa) by helping to make the luminarias, my 6 year old niece again looked at me and this time said, "Aunt Lissa, can I make a special bag from Grandma Diane (my mother) and Grandpa Jim (my grandfather)?"

Fighting the tears back, I said, "of course sweetie, you can make as many as you'd like." Once she finished making those two she turned to me & said, "Can I make one for Jo's mom?" (her best friend who is 5 who has an amazing mother who knows all about cancer far too well.)

This time I squeezed that little angel and I said, "Brianna you sure can!!"

When she was finished she took a picture of it on her mom's phone and said, "Can we show it to her incase she can't come to Relay tomorrow like us mom?"

If that doesn't touch your heart then I don't know what to tell you. She is 6 years old & knows children younger than her who have gone through the dreadful treatments that she saw my mother go through for a year and a half! Please tell me what child should have to lose their hair and get poked & prodded daily.

My family is my life and I am thankful everyday that I have such a wonderful and close family. I have amazing friends who surround me too. I just wish that we could all work together as a team to help put an end to cancer!

If you've never experienced a Relay For Life, you definitely should. It's a phenomenal event. If you've never put a name on a Luminaria bag you should do that today. Please help the world fight cancer!!

Pray for all who have cancer, for families who have faced cancer and for all who may hear "You have cancer" in the near future, because you never know when it could be somebody you love.

You never know when you may find out that a family member's cancer is no longer in remission!!

Please as the American Cancer Society prepares to hold the 2008 Relay For Life of Des Moines County and people of all ages, races and genders stay up all night and run on adrenaline, please take a milli second and say a prayer or something for those people.

It would mean the world to me and to my 6 year old niece!! Especially right now!!

Thank you!! Love,

Melissa Woods
Entertainment Chair
ACS Relay For Life
Henderson Co/Des Moines Co