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The season to fight cancer

Before long, Relay for Life anti-cancer fundraising events will take place in the Sauk Valley. If you can’t think of a reason to donate or participate, we know a few.

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

If you don’t have a personal reason right now to donate money to fight cancer, then we can give you a few.

The first is Ethan Waters. He is a 23-year-old graduate of Rock Falls High School, he lives in Dixon, and he was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer.

Waters was featured in a story in Saturday’s paper. He is mighty young to have to be dealing with cholangiocarcinoma. He undergoes chemotherapy every Thursday in an aggressive regimen to attack tumors that are considered too large for surgeons to remove.

The chemo sessions leave him weak for several days. Fatigue, flu-like symptoms, shivers and nausea have become the norm for Waters, although he is pleased that his hair has not fallen out.

Waters has been able to return to work on a limited basis at the Goodwill store in Sterling. A page has been set up on to raise money for his everyday expenses.

We hope that Waters can prevail and live a long life.

The second reason to join the anti-cancer cause is Sue Hohlen, 49, the executive director of the United Way of Lee County since 2006, who died April 24 after having been diagnosed with advanced cancer only a month earlier.

The rapid progression of the disease shocked her family and friends, not to mention the community at large. Along with raising money for local charities through United Way, Hohlen volunteered for many local groups.

She left behind her husband, Kent, and two daughters.

Hohlen’s death before reaching age 50 and Waters’ diagnosis at 23 point to the pernicious nature of cancer. Younger people who have every expectation of living long, healthy lives can be stricken, as well as older folks.

If Waters and Hohlen inspire people to become involved in anti-cancer efforts, that would be great. Most people, however, know family members and friends who have had the disease. Those connections provide even stronger motivations.

We are fast approaching Relay for Life season in the Sauk Valley.

Annual anti-cancer fundraising events will take place in Lee and Whiteside counties in a little more than 2 weeks. The money raised pays for research and other services.

Lee’s Relay for Life will be Friday evening into Saturday morning, June 6-7, at Dixon High School.

Whiteside’s Relay for Life will be Saturday evening into Sunday morning, June 7-8, at Rock Falls High School’s Hinders Field.

Both events raise thousands of dollars. We salute the organizers, participants, sponsors, and donors who make it all possible.

Fighting cancer remains an uphill battle; there are at least 50 varieties that attack all parts of the body. The American Cancer Society estimates that 585,720 Americans will die of cancer this year, or almost 1,600 fatalities a day.

By walking on a Relay for Life team, or pledging money for a team, or simply making a donation to the American Cancer Society, you can make a difference – for Ethan Waters, to honor the memory of Sue Hohlen, and for those cancer victims and survivors in your life.

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