Celebrate, remember, fight back

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, April 1, 2009

By Staff
Every family has that one person who lights up a room, turning ordinary visits into memories that linger forever.
In my family — where there is no shortage of special individuals, at least in my opinion — that person is my brother. He is quick-witted and gregarious, kind-hearted and generous. My sister and I still look up to him, albeit while rolling our eyes more than we did when we were younger.
I can’t imagine a world without him.
But two decades ago our family had the sort of scare far too many families endure. What seemed like a simple infection turned out to be cancer.
I was, thankfully, still a little too young to fully realize the gravity of the situation — and we were unbelievably lucky, thanks to the type of cancer and my brother’s age and health.
As my brother told his company newsletter for a story a few years ago, “I had it easy — quick diagnosis, surgery, cured, no chemo or radiation necessary.”
Too many families are not as lucky as we were. Too many cope with the disease for years. Too many have empty places at the holiday table.
I wish all of them could have the same outcome as my brother. I wish all of them could have the same outlook as Wayne Howard, the dedicated East Brewton councilman who is living his life every day with the disease — and is not about to let it beat him, no matter what his doctors say.  
Over the past several months, local teams in Brewton have been coming up with all sorts of ways to raise money to beat cancer — a beauty pageant, a 5K run, raffles and a cake contest are just a few of the events teams have held. Organizers believe they will meet and beat the $38,000 fundraising goal they set.
Relay for Life will be held from noon to midnight Saturday on the grounds of the Greater Brewton YMCA. Even if you aren’t on a team, Relay is a great way to get involved with your neighbors and make a difference to help fight cancer.
This year’s Relay theme is “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.”
In recent years, my brother has often worn a yellow LiveStrong bracelet, his way of remembering what he went through and celebrating the life he’s had. Hisattitude shows why he’s the one who lights up the room in our family.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com