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Editorial: Enlist in fight to lick cancer

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Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 1998 1:00 am

The Rock Island Argus

If someone handed you a revolver containing one bullet and suggested you play ``Russian roulette'' by whirling the cylinder and then firing the weapon into your head, you would probably tell them (well, we can't say what you would tell them because this is a family newspaper). But what we can say is this: You wouldn't want anything to do with this `game' for one simple reason -- your chance of being killed would be one in six, since there are six bullet chambers in most revolvers.

Your chance of dying of cancer is greater than that.

Statistics show that at the present rate, nearly one in every four Americans -- two in every three families -- will be struck by cancer. Since cancer rates were first compiled, in 1900, the death rate climbed from 4 percent of all deaths in America to 24 percent in 1990, the peak year. It's now at 23 percent, but even so, millions of living Americans are destined to die of the disease -- unless a cure is found.

You have an opportunity to do something about this danger by participating in this year's ``Relay for Life'' on Aug. 14 and 15 at Augustana College's Ericson Field. The ``Relay for Life'' is an 18-hour walk/run in honor of cancer survivors and in memory of those who have lost their battle to cancer. All money raised by the event goes to the American Cancer Society to be used in the fight against the deadly disease.

Most cancers can be cured if discovered early enough, the American Cancer Society says. But the big task is to discover a remedy. Of every dollar raised by the ``Relay for Life,'' 22 percent goes to fundraising, 22 percent to research, 19 percent to prevention, 17 percent to information and patient services, 13 percent to detection and treatment and 7 percent to management, all of which are aimed at bringing into submission this foremost scourge of the human race.

The goal for this fourth annual fundraising event is $100,000 and 100 teams; 60 teams are currently registered.

We support this outstanding endeavor and urge Quad-Citians to embrace it wholeheartedly. Here's why:

-- Cancer is a devastating disease -- this event brings attention to early detection, treatment and funding needs.

-- It is a grass-roots example of volunteerism -- the people involved are truly dedicated, rather than being assigned or coerced into participating.

-- The event provides an opportunity to memorialize victims and to honor survivors.

-- Mayors from Rock Island, Moline and East Moline have declared, by proclamation, their cities to be ``Relay for Life'' communities.

-- The event pays tribute to Charles O. Austin, Jr., honorary chairperson, who was a founder of the Rock Island-Milan Cancer Society Board on which he has served for 16 years as board chairman and member. In addition, for over 15 years, Mr. Austin has volunteered four days each week providing transportation for cancer patients.

For your own sake, for humanity's sake, be sure that you enlist in this fight to lick cancer. Too much is at stake to permit failure. Contact the American Cancer Society, 3727 Blackhawk Road, Rock Island, 794-0601, for further information.

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