By JOANNE LABELLE
Welland’s Niagara College hosted the Relay For Life – Youth Program on April 4, and the turnout was less than stellar for a cause that affects so many people.
With approximately 40 participants, most of them college students, there wasn’t a person present who didn’t have a story to tell about a fight with cancer, either their own or that of a relative or patient.
The Canadian Cancer Society states that, on average, 3,340 Canadians are diagnosed with some form of cancer every week. Lung, prostate, breast and colorectal cancer account for 50 per cent of all new cancer cases every year.
From 2009 incidence rates, 40 per cent of Candian women and 45 per cent of men will develop cancer during their lifetimes.
In addition, approximately 10,000 cancers are diagnosed in young adults every year.
Young adults are often criticized by the members of older generations for not showing an interest in serious matters such as cancer. Some people believe that the youth of today are too interested in their iPods and video games to take the time to get involved in their communities.
Youth attending the Relay for Life have the opportunity to celebrate with those who have beaten cancer, to remember those who were lost to cancer, and to encourage those with cancer to continue the fight.
When I was younger, the schools I attended always provided an outlet for students to get involved in causes, like, walk-a-thons, read-a-thons or even dance-a-thons. The gymnasiums were always full, and donation goals were met.
Although this year was the first year for the Relay For Life on campus, I feel Niagara College students could have put forth the effort to really show what we’re made of.
Young adults ought to find out what they can do to help prevent cancer while learning the risk factors and warning signs. Participating in the Relay for Life encourages just that.
I am, therefore, challenging my fellow Niagara College students: Show me that our generation isn’t lost in today’s jungle of electronica. Stand behind a cause and show your support.
Next year, the college is hosting its second Relay For Life, and I’m sure we would all like to see attendance and donations double from this years.
With about 4,500 full-time students at Welland campus alone, there should be no reason why we can’t get our numbers and donations up from this year.
Mark your calendar for March 2012 as a time to come together to walk, run or dance the Relay For Life-Youth Program. I will see you there.
For more information on cancer and the Relay for Life visit www.cancer.ca.
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