This year marks the ninth year that my family has come together to honor my dad, Al Sweet, at Warren's Relay For Life.
It's also been nine years since Dad died.
The day Dad died, Feb. 12, 2005, is a dividing line in my personal history. It's the day life turned upside down and got all shaken up like a snowglobe for good measure. Nothing has been the same since.
And that is why I will be walking, rain or shine, with hundreds of other people from the Mahoning Valley, at Relay. We all have the same goal in mind - finding a way to stop cancer from taking away our beloved family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
It's great that we can take the time out to show our support for people with cancer, but it's also important to remember that the fight against cancer isn't limited to just a few weekends in May and June when we're out walking the track. The money we raise at Relay goes to work all year long to help the American Cancer Society fund research and programs. In 2012, 62 percent of the ACS's total income came from donations, bequests and events like Relay For Life. Four million people in 20 countries took part in Relay For Life events.
But where does that money go??Seventy-two percent of the American Cancer Society's 2012 budget was spent on research, patient support, prevention information and education, detection and treatment. Approximately $160.1 million went directly to research and health professional training.
We are a vital part of this effort. We watch and cheer as the survivors walk their lap to open the Relay. We spend our time at Relay raising funds and awareness. Those funds go to treatment and support, leading to more and more survivors.
As we continue to strive for better detection and better treatment, we come closer to our ultimate goal:?a world without cancer.
My dad was so proud to walk with the survivors in 2004. I'm proud to be a part of the effort to make more people cancer survivors in his memory.
Want to see what Relay For Life is all about??Come visit me on West Market Street during Warren's Relay For Life this Friday and Saturday at Courthouse Square.