Dollars raised may end the fight

Published 10:51 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of covering many events and doing stories on interesting people.

I’ve been there to cover then President Clinton taking part in the 35th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. I’ve taken photos of the last Confederate widow as she attended a Civil War re-enactment. And, I’ve had the chance to take photos of and interview just about every prominent political figure in Alabama over the past decade.

But, in my time, I have never covered an event as community-driven and purpose-driven as the Chilton County Relay for Life.

I know it sounds crazy, but those who work, play and live in Chilton County sometimes don’t realize the level this event has reached when compared to just about every other Relay in the state or country.

I’ve seen teams formed at nearly every church, every school and every business. In fact, portions of the advertising revenue from a Relay for Life section planned for Friday’s Advertiser will be donated to the Chilton County Relay for Life.

We’ve covered crazy fundraising ideas such as sitting on a toilet or sleeping on a school roof to events that promote fellowship like the recent motorcycle ride.

And, the reason is not because this county is tremendously giving, which it is, or because this county’s values are based on a strong Christian faith, because it is. But, the reason this has become such a strong tradition in Chilton County is because of the people and the stories they tell.

These organizations raise money, not because they want to surpass their goal and stand among their colleagues, but because it is their deep down hope that the next dollar they raise will be the final dollar to cure cancer.

Every one of us knows someone who has battled and won or battled and lost a fight with cancer. The disease knows no limits and is without prejudice in whom it inflicts.

Cancer has affected every one of us, including me and my family, and I cannot think of a better way to take the fight to cancer than to take part in a Relay for Life event each year.

So to all those that formed teams and worked to collect money and to those that graciously donated, I personally say thank you. The dollar or so you donated may save the life of someone I know.