Relay for Life needs both city, county support

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The issue: Local governments asked to support Relay for Life.

Our position: This is a Dallas County-Selma event and should have both entities as a sponsor.

Patty Sexton, Sherri James, Jean Martin and others have approached the Dallas County Commission and the Selma City Council about becoming big corporate sponsors of the May 2 American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

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The governments would have to ante up $2,500 each for the sponsorships as corporate sponsors. That’s no small bit of change, especially in these times of economic slowdown.

However, it’s worth the dollars spent, considering the money will go toward finding a cure.

These are real people, all touched by cancer.

Sexton is a two-time survivor of colon cancer. Martin, a city council member,

is a survivor of breast cancer. James’ entire family has grappled with the disease.

Roy Moore, a county commissioner, is a cancer survivor.

Sexton said it best when she talked Monday about everyone in some way being affected by the disease.

Thanks to events such as the Relay for Life, cancer isn’t the death sentence it once was.

For instance, the HPV virus vaccine that came out in June 2006 was the first developed to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases caused by the virus. About 70 percent of cervical cancer is caused by HPV. Now, the vaccine is recommended for 11 to 12 year-old girls and can be given to girls as young as 9.

The vaccine is also recommended for 13 to 26 year-olds who have not yet received or completed the vaccine series.

Just last month, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study that reported the drug letrozole cuts the risk of breast cancer recurrence and spread by more than 60 percent in postmenopausal women with early-stage disease who had earlier therapy.

Older men with potentially aggressive high-risk prostate cancer have benefited from research, also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, that reported just four months of hormonal therapy before and with external beam radiation therapy slowed cancer growth by as much as eight years and increased survival in those men.

But the research isn’t just about recovering; it’s about finding what causes the disease and how to reduce the chances.

This kind of research comes in a roundabout way from all the dollars raised through sponsorship of events, such as Relay for Life.

That’s why the city and county dollars to sponsor the May 2 event are so important.