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Relay for Life 2010 coming soon

Monday, January 25, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- It's time to fight back against cancer.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Putnam County has set the 2010 date for April 24 and 25 at DePauw University Blackstock Stadium.

Relay For Life is ACS's signature event, dedicated to increasing awareness and raising funds to fight cancer.

"Relay For Life provides a venue where everyone can celebrate, remember and fight back," said Brandi Stewart, community representative for ACS. "It is truly inspiring to witness the cancer survivors in our community celebrate their victory over the disease."

Relay is not only about teams of family, friends and co-workers raising dollars and camping out overnight, but participating in fun activities and ceremonies.

"The Luminaria Ceremony gives us a time to remember those we've lost," said Stewart. "And this year we are including a Fight Back ceremony, where participants and community members will be able to make a personal commitment to fight back by saving one life from cancer this year."

In addition to relaying, Putnam County residents will have another way of joining the movement to fight back against cancer. There will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fight back by enrolling in the American Cancer Society's third Cancer Prevention Study or CPS-3.

CPS-3 will help give a better understanding of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer. It will also ultimately eliminate cancer as a major health concern.

One anonymous study volunteer said, "This is an opportunity to change the face of cancer...so we don't have to tell our children to be afraid of a word called cancer."

Individuals between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and who are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study are invited to enroll in the hope that research being done today will lead to a cancer-free tomorrow.

The study builds on a history of ACS-sponsored follow-up studies, starting in the 1950s, which have provided invaluable insights into the causes of cancer and the steps people can take to prevent cancer.

Some key findings from previous studies include the substantial effect of cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke on lung cancer and premature death, leading to the US Surgeon General's report, warning labels on cigarettes and numerous smoke-free legislative measures.

The studies were the first to show the significant impact of obesity on the risk of dying from cancer and the link between asprin use and lower risk of dying from cancer.

"You don't have to be a participant in Relay," said Stewart. "The public is invited to be a part of this study."

The enrollment process takes two steps. The first step is at Relay For Life April 24, where willing participants will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form, complete a brief written survey (about 20 pages), provide a waist measurement and give a small blood sample (similar to a doctor's visit -- seven teaspoons total). The blood sample will be drawn by a trained, certified phlebotomist.

The second step takes place at home, where a more detailed survey will be mailed for completion. The survey will ask for information on lifestyle, behavioral and other factors related to health.

Upon completion of the first two steps, ACS will continue to mail follow-up surveys every few years to update information. CPS-3 is not a clinical study, so participants will not receive individual blood test results.

"It is a group study, not an individual one," Stewart said.

Anyone with questions about CPS-3 or interested in being a participant can e-mail CPS-3 volunteer Becky Phillips at krbarham@comcast.net.

The 2010 Relay For Life will take place from noon to noon April 24-25 at Blacstock Stadium. For more information about Relay, contact Stewart at 449-4799.

Relay For Life celebrates 25 years of bringing cancer survivors and anyone touched by the disease together. Held overnight in honor of the fact cancer never sleeps, Relay For Life has grown from a single event in Tacoma, Wash. that raised $27,000 to the largest grassroots movement nationwide.

More than 5,000 communities throughout the United States now host an American Cancer Society Relay For Life event and have raised more than $3 billion for the fight against cancer.

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