As you may know, the weekend before last, I participated in my hometown’s Relay for Life. It was fantastic, and over $200,000 was raised in our county! I got to-once again-watch my dad walk in the Survivor’s Lap, and I was blessed to honor friends and family that have battled cancer. The overnight was very cold, but my team, and 90 other teams, stuck it out. I could not be more proud of them.
What you probably don’t know is that I also signed away the next 30 years of my life.
Okay, “signed away” is probably not the best way to put it, but I did make a thirty-year commitment to the American Cancer Society to participate in their CPS-3, otherwise known as the Cancer Prevention Study-3. CPS-3 is a research study that will look at many factors, including lifestyle, environment, and genetics, in order to hopefully find out not only what might cause cancer, but also what may prevent it. The general requirements are that you are between the ages of 30 and 65, have never been diagnosed with cancer, and are willing to make the commitment for the length of the study. Since I fall into those three categories, I went to the tent at Relay where they were doing the sign-ups. I gave them some preliminary information, a waist measurement, and a few vials of blood. That was it.
Starting this week, and again every 2-3 years, I will fill out a somewhat lengthly survey(they estimate it will take 45 minutes to an hour). This information will be compared with other participants’ information over the course of the study, as people are diagnosed with cancer. Our lifestyle and environmental choices will be used to discern what some have done differently that may have prevented a particular cancer.
My reason for doing this is because sometimes cancer feels like a family tradition, and this is one tradition I’d love to break. If I can’t break it, then I hope my kids will. I don’t want them to spend their adult lives with the assumption that they will be diagnosed with cancer, as I do. I don’t want them to hear, “You have cancer,” as my parents did. I don’t want them to walk the Survivor’s Lap, because I don’t want there to even be a need for it.
I want cancer gone.
If you are interested in signing up for CPS-3, please visit this page to see if there is an enrollment site near you. They are looking for at least 300,000 people from across the country, and are in need of a varied pool of applicants. Please consider this.
*Many thanks again to my friend and teammate, Trena, for taking such lovely photos!