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WHEW! The 2009 Grant County Relay For Life is in the history books now. But what a night it was! There was laughter and tears, smiles and hugs, food and fun! The best part – seeing more than 100 survivors, some estimates put it at 115, proudly wearing their bright purple shirts, making their victory lap around the track. The other best part – watching Grant County, from Corinth to Crittenden and everywhere in between, come together to raise more than $89,000 in the fight against cancer. That’s amazing, good news and a welcome relief. I will admit that I was worried about the relay this year because there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs or had to take a pay cut who are having trouble making ends meet with little left over for charitable causes. What is the secret behind the success of the relay? I believe it is because the community has embraced the Relay For Life as their event. It has become part of their lifestyle and that’s a good thing. I’ve been privileged to be a volunteer with the American Cancer Society as the Grant County Relay For Life chairman and now co-chairman for the last 10 years. I’ve watched the event grow from a dozen teams to more than 30. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful cancer survivors and their families. I’ve shared in the grief of some of those families and friends who lost their battle with cancer. Someone asked me before this year’s event if I ever thought that a cure for cancer would be found. I’ll sum it up this way – I’m not a researcher, scientist or a doctor. I don’t know if they’ll ever stop people from getting cancer. I do believe, though, that one day every one will be a cancer survivor. Some of the medications and treatments being offered to cancer patients today weren’t even available 10 years ago. Just ask Jeff Walters, BJ Walters, Hope Catron, Emily Covey and William Murphy what a difference the relay and the ACS has made in their lives. Through the generous support of teams, businesses, churches and organizations the relay was a success. Be proud Grant County. Raising more than $89,000 calls for celebration. It’s also a warning to cancer, a familiar problem that shows no signs of stopping, that we’re going to keep fighting until we win. *** I’ve recently received several well-written letters to the editor that focused on community issues, namely budget cuts the county is facing and situations going on in various departments and agencies. It was clear the writers of these letters put time and effort into them. However, our readers who enjoy the letters to the editor section won’t be seeing these letters because they were not signed. It is the editorial policy of the Grant County News that all letters to the editor be signed and include an address and phone number for verification purposes. I really wanted to publish these letters because I feel they contained valid points and insightful commentary, but will only be able to do so if the writers will sign them. In one, the writer says “This needs to be put in the Grant County News to let people of Grant County know what is going on behind the scenes.” I wholeheartedly agree, but must ask that our policy be followed.
(Jamie Baker-Nantz is editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at 859-824-3343 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)