By Lu Ann Franklin - Times Correspondent | Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010
CROWN POINT | More than 3,300 people are diagnosed annually with cancer in Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties.
"Those four counties represent one-tenth of the cancer diagnoses in the entire state of Indiana," said Bradley M. Stevenson, ACS NWI community representative.
Preventing cancer and celebrating those who have survived cancer in all its forms are twin missions of the society and the focus of the annual South Lake County Relay for Life, which will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S. Court St.
Although usually conducted on a Friday, this year's annual event was switched to a Saturday to accommodate the third annual Cancer Prevention Study.
Personnel from Methodist Hospital and Alverno Labs at St. Anthony Medical Center are volunteering to conduct this local cancer study from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at one end of the track where the relay will be conducted, Stevenson said.
"Individuals ages 30 to 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study are encouraged to sign up," he said.
Study participants will complete a brief questionnaire and have their waists measured. In addition, trained phlebotomists from Quest Diagnostics will take a small blood sample from each person.
"Two weeks later, the participants will receive another questionnaire to fill out," Stevenson said. "We are trying to study one-half million people and will follow them for 20 to 30 years."
Some of those participants eventually may be diagnosed with cancer, he said. "Our goal is to determine what trends are in the people who are being diagnosed with cancer so we can help prevent it in future generations."
The Relay for Life will start with opening ceremonies and a speech by cancer survivor Tina Huffine, of Hobart. Huffine is a 2010 Honored Hero and captain of Tina's Fight Team for The Light the Night Walk, sponsored by the Leukemia/Lymphona Society.
Others participating in the opening ceremonies will be Crown Point Mayor David Uran and Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub.
Following the opening ceremonies, the survivors' lap will honor those who have fought cancer. Crown Point's Molley the Trolley will make the lap and then take survivors to a dinner at the fairgrounds show pavilion.
"Volunteers are making side dishes and Kelsey's Restaurant is preparing the chicken for the survivors' dinner," Stevenson said.
The annual South Lake County Relay for Life is one of many throughout Indiana to raise money for cancer research. Participants can sign up the day of the event.
Stevenson said those who can't participate can donate to Relay for Life online at www.relayforlife.org/southlakein.
There also will be a charity bike run for the Relay for Life on Saturday. The bike run will begin at the Lake County Fairgrounds and make stops in Lowell and Kouts. It will end at Buddy & Pal's, 1206 E. Summit St. in Crown Point. Registration will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds. The cost per bike is $20. For more information, call Michelle Rybolt at (773) 326-6625.