Relay, times three

Looking at the seemingly insurmountable statistics showing the numbers of people diagnosed with cancer each year — 173,800 in 2010, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers — how can one person make a difference?

The most and best I can do is try.

Looking at the seemingly insurmountable statistics showing the numbers of people diagnosed with cancer each year — 173,800 in 2010, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers — how can one person make a difference?

It’s a question been asked by many people, on numerous occasions, I’m sure. Looking to history, however, there are plenty of names remembered for doing just that, stepping out against something in the hope for change.

For instance, there was Molly Brown, who was thrown into a horrible situation, but did her best to see to others survival. In 1912, Brown was traveling in Egypt when she heard grave news about her grandson, who was gravely ill at the time. Making haste to her home community in the United States, she booked a spot on one of the few ships still taking passengers — the RMS Titanic.

Almost 100 years from the year the fabled “unsinkable” giant sunk while crossing the Atlantic, it’s a disaster that has lived on for almost a century, with numerous books, documentaries, and movies written after it, but at that time, Brown’s only concern was in making sure as many people aboard the Titanic lived to see what we may take for granted: their families, their friends, a sunny day.

Her efforts in assisting the other passengers was later honoured by her receiving the French Legion of Honour in 1932, but it didn’t stop there. She later started the Titanic Survivors’ Committee, seeing to it that the immigrants who had lost everything received the help they needed. She also championed a memorial being erected in Washington, D.C.

Earlier, when her husband was made superintendent of the mine he was working at, she started soup kitchens for the more impoverished than she.

It may sound small — anyone can ladle soup, help others aboard a rescue boat, provide clothes or comfort for those who lost all they had in a major disaster — but the point here is she did it.

She took time out of her day for those she didn’t need to.  She could have just as easily seen to it that she got one of the few spots available on the rescue crafts and hurried home to her ill grandson, but she didn’t.

And I’m sure she made a difference to someone. The little boy without a jacket, perhaps, or the sobbing woman who’s just lost her husband who needed a word of comfort?

History, unfortunately, doesn’t get that specific, but if she can do all that then surely I can do all I can for curing cancer.

Am I, the time impoverished community reporter for both Houston and Smithers going to pull up my sleeves and develop a cure for all cancers?

Not likely, as I didn’t do so very well in science courses in high school.

Can I help those who are good at science do what they do?

I’d like to think so. As can anyone else, even in communities our size, by signing up and/or supporting the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Me and my team, this year dubbed the Cancer Crusaders, will once again be out and about.  Last year, we raised over $800, this year, I’m after $1,000.  We’ll see how well we do, but I have high hopes this year.

It’s a cause that is close to not just me, but many others as well, for all the wrong reasons. But, as Brown did, let’s turn something horrible into something full of hope: something that we can look back on, years from now, and say, “I did that.”