Fighting cancer, 1 step at a time

Published 2:55 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cancer is a seemingly omnipresent disease that affects millions upon millions of people directly and indirectly. One of the many organizations that is dedicated to fighting cancer is the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life — an organization run by volunteers not only in America, but around the world as well.

A relay is typically 6-24 hours long. The significance of the extended time frame of the relays is symbolic of the fact that cancer never stops, thus the fight against must never stop. Teams take turns walking around a path or track which usually has a campsite set up for the various teams as well as activities for the community to get involved — all meant to go to the cause.

Bell County has its own Relay For Life set for September, but the Kick-Off is March 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Middlesboro Mall.

The Kick-Off is designed to get the word out to the community and gain as many volunteers on the teams as possible.

The Kick-Off will feature a special guest speaker from the new Middlesboro ARH Cancer and Infusion Therapy Center — Mohamed Shansal, M.D.

Carrie Hembree of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Pineville campus, is a volunteer for the relay and this upcoming event is her third one. She, like many others, has had several family members and friends who battled cancer and getting involved in Relay For Life is a way for her to give back and spread awareness.

“It’s affected a lot of my relationships and people I’ve known, so I want to help in any way I can to keep the fight going — to find a cure, provide resources for cancer victims and do whatever I can to help,” she said.

Leading up to the day of the relay, there are other activities and events being planned that will be announced as they get organized. A dinner for cancer survivors is planned, as is a softball tournament.

“We like to get all of Middlesboro involved and have a big community day,” stated Hembree.