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Support the Ceres Relay for Life
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About one out of four Americans is affected by cancer in their lifetime, which should serve as a catalyst for all to get involved in this weekend's Ceres Relay for Life.

Great inroads have been made in the fight against cancer. When my father was a boy the word "cancer" generally was a death sentence; generally speaking one in four survived. By the 1960's, that figure was up to one in three, and now has reached over 54 percent survival. Not only are those cancer stricken surviving, but they are experiencing a better quality of life while under treatment. Surgery is less radical, and chemotherapy is producing fewer side effects.

Still, there are some cancers that have been tougher to fight, particularly pancreatic and liver cancers. Much more work needs to be done so those cancers aren't an automatic death sentence.

It's heart-wrenching watching someone you love to die from cancer. My heart was broken in the mid-1970s when I lost my 10-year-old Modesto cousin, Sandra Dodd, who was ravaged by leukemia. I also watched a great uncle die from jaw cancer, a church friend die of brain cancer, my mother-in-law die from ovarian cancer in 1987, my father-in-law from lung cancer on Christmas Eve 2002 and another good friend from church die from jaw cancer. Many of the victims I know did not smoke.

I've done a Relay for Life and can say that it's a rewarding experience. Asking for pledges and walking for an hour is a small sacrifice to bring us closer to a cure.

The public should come down and partake of the fun and goods being sold at the Ceres High football stadium on Saturday. Many of the Relay teams will be selling unique items and making raffle prizes available. Everything raised will go to the American Cancer Society.

Perhaps more important is what information you could glean from the survivors who will be on hand. Many share their experiences and advice. Every team will also be offering valuable information about certain types of cancer as well as prevention measures.

If you do anything, consider coming down before it gets dark and make a $10 donation to remember somebody you've lost to cancer. Luminary bags are decorated or written on remembering a person and then lit with candles inside them for an event after dusk. Through the night names of the loved ones are read outloud.

Lastly try to understand that the way we live our lives can determine if we get cancer or not. Experts offer this advice1:

• Eat lots of plant foods, mainly vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Try to eat broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

• Stay away from sugar.

• Learn how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy oils.

• Beware of electromagnetic fields and ionizing radiatio.

• Strive to maintain your optimal weight and be physically active.

• Strive to sleep soundly for 8-10 hours per day in darkness.

• Don't smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or use any other recreational drugs.

• Go easy on the salt.

• Strive to be emotionally balanced.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at