May 27, 2009


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

It’s easy to ‘talk the talk,’ but as we all know it’s quite another thing when it finally is time to ‘walk the walk.’
It’s easy to talk about cancer. After all, no single word probably strikes more fear in the heart of a person than does the thought of having cancer strike either yourself, a family member or a loved one.
Cancer does strike a staggering number of people each year. And not all of the people that receive the word that they have cancer are faceless strangers. More and more each year, we find that a close friend or neighbor has been diagnosed with this disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, each year over one million people will be diagnosed with cancer and over 1,500 people die every day because of cancer.  Statistically in the United States, men have about a one in two lifetime risk of developing cancer, while for women the risk is about one in three. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease.
But despite the staggering odds that each of us, or a person that we know, could become another staggering statistic of cancer, there is hope. Thanks to the work of the American Cancer Society and research breakthroughs, the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined is beginning to drop.
It’s easy to talk about cancer as long as we are not directly impacted by the disease. It’s easy to put anything that has to do with cancer awareness on the back shelf until something happens that drives the issue of cancer to the forefront of our lives.
And then suddenly, when that happens, everything, including our lives and the lives of our family and friends changes.
This weekend, as Watford City hosts its annual American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, we all have the opportunity to ‘walk the walk’ for cancer awareness and to help find a cure for this dreaded disease.
For 12 hours this Friday evening and Saturday morning, an estimated 300 people will be walking the Watford City High School Track as part of the American Cancer Society’s signature activity as they honor cancer survivors and remember loved ones who were victims of this dreaded disease. For 12 straight hours, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., participants will walk that endless track. But they won’t be walking alone. They will be walking with friends and family. They will be walking past more than 6,000 luminarias, that will be burning brightly from dark until dawn, bearing the names of cancer victims or people waging their own battle against cancer. For just as cancer does not sleep, neither will the participants.
The Relay For Life is more than just a fundraiser. It’s a life-changing experience. Every person in the community has a chance to celebrate, remember, and fight back. And every person who participates joins others around the globe as part of this worldwide movement to end cancer.
More importantly, with every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives.
 So this Friday evening, join with your friends and neighbors who are willing to take time from their busy schedules to ‘walk the walk’  as they remember those who lost the battle to cancer, support those who are currently facing cancer, and help support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to eliminate cancer in the future.