Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Sports column

October 2, 2012

Column: Disease fighting has become part of the sports scene

— Sports today involves the most physically fit in our society. Increasingly, there are efforts to link sports with efforts to aid those who whose fitness suffers from physical diseases.

I was unaware of the efforts to combat breast cancer until one weekend when I was selecting Associated Press photos for the next day’s edition of the newspaper. One women’s college basketball game after another had photos of student-athletes all wearing predominantly pink uniforms.

Something big was happening, coordinated all on one day. Soon I found out what it was.

• • •

October has been designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a number of volleyball teams have arranged “pink nights” to highlight the effort to fight the disease.

Some volleyball teams locally have already held special matches to focus on cancer detection, prevention and research, and to celebrate cancer survivors.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation includes a page on its website that promotes its National Mammography Program, which provides mammograms for women who are uninsured or cannot afford them.

The site stated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. There is currently no known cure for breast cancer, and its early diagnosis is critical to survival.

• • •

One thing the West Virginia University and Concord football coaching staffs had in common at their games on Saturday was the wearing of patches on their left sleeves supporting “Coach to Cure MD.”

The good cause here, arranged through the Ameri-can Football Coaches Association, was to support efforts to solve Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during early childhood.

A progressive disorder that causes loss of muscle function and independence, Duchenne affects approximately one out of every 3,500 boys and 20,000 babies born each year worldwide according to a website devoted to funding research and raising awareness about the disease.

To date, there is no cure or treatment to stop the progression of Duchenne, and young men with the disorder typically live only into their twenties.

People can use their cell phones to donate $5 to the effort by texting “cure” to 90999.

• • •

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life involved more than four million people in more than 20 countries last year to raise funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.

This “relay” engages people in a walk that traditionally leads up to a service with luminaries, or containers with lit candles in them.

The event at Concord University in Athens next spring is tentatively scheduled to stretch from the evening of March 29 through March 30.

Other relay events scheduled for next year are at Southwest Virginia Community College near Richlands on June 8, at the Princeton Senior High soccer field on June 14, at Giles High School on June 21, at the Bland County Fairgrounds on June 28, at Poplar Gap Park in Grundy on Aug. 2, and at the Dickenson County Fairgrounds in Haysi on Aug. 9.

There are probably others that didn’t pop up on the “event finder” at the website relayforlife. org.

• • •

Be careful with your donations, though. There appears to be a large number of organizations wanting your money and saying they fight cancer.

On Monday I received an unsolicited email about an “amazing philanthropic event” in New York City later this month called “Shopping Night Out.” Somehow this is tied into the fight against cancer.

It’s my guess that my computer’s email account was targeted by some kind of hidden software because I was sampling websites dealing with cancer-fighting organizations.

And, no, I won’t be going to New York City.

*****

Tom Bone is a Daily Telegraph sports writer and editorial cartoonist. Contact him at tbone @ bdtonline.com.

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