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Day By Day: Relay walkers are right - It's time to kick cancer to the curb

With all the bad news going around these days like the price of gas and the war and toxic tomatoes, it might seem that cancer is just more of the same. But it really isn't. Just go to this weekend's Relay For Life and you'll know what I mean.

Tomorrow night begins the ninth annual Hudson fundraiser for the fight against cancer and if you've never been, go. Every year there are familiar faces, old friends and strangers, some who have lived with the disease for years, others who have loved and cared for those who didn't survive it and still others and their loved ones who have just begun their battle. And there are people like me, who just want to be where there is so much love and so much compassion and so much hope.

Cancer has been around forever. It continues to take too many people at all stages of life but there are also more and more people who have survived and thrived. But every once in awhile it seems that it is everywhere again and hitting so often and so hard. The last couple of months have been like that whether it's a Kennedy on the nightly news or a very close friend on the other end of the phone.

The Huftels, mother Jill and 22-year-old daughter Noelle, are both way too young to be living with cancer but they are. They will tell their story at the relay's opening ceremony. Like the dozens of cancer patients I've interviewed over the past 18 years, those who have survived and some who have died, all seem to find the silver lining in their fate. Cancer, like lots of other adversities, has taught them to value every day and every person they care about. Despite all it takes away, cancer somehow gives them something too-- leaves them stronger than before and smarter about so many things.

My cousin JoAnne was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. It sucks when someone close gets such hard news but as time goes on, she is reacting like so many other women I've known--she's getting smarter and braver and doing what has to be done to beat it.

Another woman I know, Ginny, just continues to amaze everyone around her. She is in the process of chemotherapy for a third recurrence of her cancer. This she does while mourning the loss of her husband, her best friend just weeks ago to the same disease. This petite, almost perky woman, has sumo-size strength that just doesn't seem quit. The miracles aren't only the cured but also those who endure.

And there are so many others in our town, teachers, husbands and wives, parents, children, bosses and co-workers, that somehow through this horrible experience gain something of importance, regardless of the outcome. A lot of them will be there -at the survivors lap, remembering at the luminary ceremony and walking to raise the money that will hopefully someday soon make it just a memory that teaches all of us something good.