By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor in Chief
An estimated 1,735,350 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and 609,640 people will die of it just in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. There’s almost a 50 percent chance of getting cancer and unfortunately, there’s no cure.
Cancer is the rapid growth of abnormal cells in the body. There are hundreds of different types and everyone has cancer more than once in their life, although their body usually fights it off. Treatment consists of surgery to remove cancerous cells, stem cell transplants, radiation and chemotherapy. All of those treatments can be a lengthy process and be damaging to the body. According to cancer.org, side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, hair loss, easy bruising and bleeding, infection, anemia, nausea and appetite changes. Radiation can lead to skin problems, fatigue, and head, neck, chest, and stomach pains. Stem cell transplants can cause mouth and throat pain, nausea, and infection.
For those who want to help fight to find a cure, they can participate in Relay for Life events. Freshman Julianne Witherington is on her family’s team, which was started after her grandma was diagnosed with cancer.
“My team started because my Mamaw passed away two years ago from cancer and cancer is a big thing in our lives because it runs on my mom’s side and my dad’s side,” Witherington said.
Senior Elizabeth Roseman’s mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, but is be expected to be in remission soon. Her mother’s cancer left her mom in the hospital often instead of at home with her family.
“My mom was at the doctor’s office all the time, so we did not get to see her very often. My grandma and my dad recently just lost my dad’s dad, so it brought up bad memories about his death,” Roseman said. “Other than that, because they caught the cancer so early, we knew that with the surgery more than likely she would be okay. We are still waiting for the last tests to see if she is cancer free but it would be more of a shock for the test to come back as cancerous than cancer free for everyone.”
One of the organizations that helps to find a cure at WCHS is Riley Dance Marathon (RDM). RDM raises thousands of dollars every year for Riley Children’s Hospital, a research hospital that provides care to most children with cancer in Indiana. RDM raised almost 17,000 dollars for the hospital last year and almost 15,000 dollars the year prior.
Senior Reese Johnson has been a part of RDM for two years now and will serve as one of the decorations executives for the 2018 to 2019 school year. She decided to join RDM because she knows there are children and families less fortunate than her in terms of health and she wants help.
“I decided to join RDM because I know there are children out there who are not as fortunate as I am, and I want to use those privileges that I am given to help them,” Johnson said.
Finding a cure is important to Roseman because she knows it can affect anyone.
“It is something that affects every person, and every case is different so we need to find a way to save the millions of people that die from cancer. Even if I never get cancer, someone else will, and no one should have to go through that experience of their own body betraying them. So it’s pretty important to me,” Roseman said.
One of Whiteland’s past elementary school teachers at Clark Elementary, Blake Mayfield, passed away from cancer on August 28. Many upperclassman had him at Clark or his wife, Suzanne Mayfield, at Pleasant Crossing. According to some of his past students who choose to remain anonymous, his class was always fun to be in and they learned a lot from him.
For students who wish to join the fight for the cure, they can get involved in RDM or Relay for Life. Johnson explained how to become a part of RDM.
“There are several ways students can help RDM. Join one of our many committees, spread the word throughout the community; the more people hear, the more beneficial RDM can be for the children. RDM is encouraged to be a part of by any and all students,” Johnson said.
To help Relay for Life, Witherington encourages students to attend the events that are always enjoyable, which are listed at relayforlife.org.
“They’re all really fun and we all get to have a good time and hang out with each other,” Witherington said.
The fight for a cure will continue until the possibility of losing a loved one to cancer is eradicated.