Editorial: Three ways to help

In Connecticut alone, 20,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and according to the American Cancer Society, almost one in four men will die from some form of cancer.

With these stark facts in mind, a legion of Wiltonians raise money and awareness for cancer research by participating in the Relay for Life, which takes place annually here in town.

Just last year, the event helped raise more than $130,000 for cancer research programs that support cancer patients and their families.

While many donors, volunteers and walkers are “repeat customers” who enjoy the program’s family-oriented night of fun, the Relay is certainly a welcoming experience for those who have never participated before. They will find food, games and activities as well as camaraderie.

They will also find inspiration in the Survivors Lap, when cancer survivors take the first lap around the track. They will find expressions of love in the luminaria ceremony, when personalized bags, glowing from the light of a candle inside, are placed around the track in tribute to those who have been lost to, are suffering from or in some way have been affected by cancer.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 10, the event’s organizers will hold a kickoff event at Westy’s self-storage at 65 Danbury Road to give information about the event, and how people can donate, walk or volunteer to help.

This year’s Relay for Life, which takes place at the high school football field, was specifically scheduled for May 29 to avoid school and town conflicts, such as junior and senior prom, which gives high school students a chance to join in on the fun.

There are three ways to support the event and cause.

Volunteers at the event help do everything from setting up tents to collecting money for food and drinks.

Walkers raise money over the course of the year before walking laps around the track until the sun comes up.

Those who can’t make the event can become a donor. It’s easy in a small town likes ours. Seek out someone who will be walking in the event, and offer to sponsor their efforts. You can also donate online at relayforlife.org — search for “Wilton.”

Every little bit counts.