North country community teams are gearing up for the annual Relay for Life fundraising season to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Kickoff programs will take place at 6 p.m. March 4 at the Lowville Elks Lodge, Lowville, Lewis County; at 6:30 p.m. March 6 at the Ramada Inn, Watertown, Jefferson County, and at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ogdensburg Free Academy, St. Lawrence County.
Were looking for anyone interested in fighting cancer, said Donald J. Boshart, community executive for the American Cancer Society. A lot of times they feel helpless. Raising funds and attending events, and bringing survivors to events helps. Anyone recently diagnosed may see theres a light at the end of the tunnel.
Mr. Boshart said the American Cancer Society uses Relay for Life money for cancer research. The agency also offers college scholarships, Reach to Recovery program to help connect breast cancer patients/survivors with people recently diagnosed with breast cancer, Look Good, Feel Better program to educate people on how to apply makeup and do hairstyles, Road to Recovery program to provide cancer patients with rides to appointments, and Hope Lodge sites throughout the country to offer a place for cancer patients and their support systems to rest while receiving treatment.
In 2012 alone, Mr. Boshart said, cancer patients and their caregivers from Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties spent 1,650 nights at Hope Lodges.
According to the American Cancer Societys most recent statistics from 2011, a majority of Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties cancer cases are prostate, breast, lung and bronchus, and colorectal. Also in 2011, an average of 28 people each week were diagnosed with cancer.
Throughout the Relay for Life fundraising season, Mr. Boshart said, he and other American Cancer Society representatives will provide any support needed to help teams run successful campaigns. They will educate teammates when to get cancer screenings, with the idea that information will be passed along, possibly leading to early detection of cancer. He said the American Cancer Society is there for cancer patients through their struggles.
The north countrys Relay for Life events will be May 31 and June 1 for Lewis County, June 14 and 15 for Jefferson County and June 7 and 8 for Ogdensburg.