There is hope and there has been success to reduce cancer’s deadly toll. Today marks the final installment in a three part series dedicated to cancer survivors, caregivers and their loved ones ahead of the Livingston County Relay for Life event. It will be held on Friday and Saturday, August 11th and 12th at the Howell High School Freshman campus.

Funds from Relay for Life support the American Cancer Society’s mission of reducing the pain and suffering from cancer. Relay For Life Community Development Manager Lauren Wagner says they partner with many programs to make sure cancer survivors and patients in the area receive the support that they need – whether it’s getting rides to treatment or learning how to put on a wig and do their make-up while they’re going through treatment. Wagner referred to Relay as “an army” of people who want to make a really big impact in the fight against cancer, adding it’s a powerful event and important mission.

A large portion of the money raised from Relay for Life also goes to research - a lot of which happens at the University of Michigan and Wagner says it’s great to be so close to so many cancer breakthroughs that could potentially happen. Wagner tells WHMI progress is being made and it’s incredible to see how much – adding that the cancer death rate for men and women combined is down 25% from its peak in 1991. She attributes that to prevention, better screening practices and better treatment. Wagner says cancer was treated much like a death sentence but now it’s more of a chronic illness in some cases where a person might have to take an oral chemo pill to stay healthy but are still able to live a full life. She says it’s interesting to see all of the new practices coming out and the research, which is having an amazing effect on the progress for living with cancer.

The theme for Livingston County’s Relay for Life is Hollywood and each team has elected to represent a movie this year. The local event is also the only one in the state with a Caregiver Celebration. Wagner says it’s a special moment and they are really excited to be able to honor caregivers in that way because there are so many and they often don’t get the celebration they deserve. The public is welcome to attend this year’s Relay for Life, which will have various activities, a new location and a new vendor show. Complete details can be found through the link. (JM)