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Lincoln residents hope to help find cancer cure

Know and Go: What: Relay for Life When: 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday Where: Lincoln High School Stadium, 7th and J streets Information/sign up: online at relayforlife.org/lincolnca or call Kris Wyatt at 768-3803 or Ellen Byron at 402-1089.
By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Cancer can be a scary word and knowing how to prevent it is important. The American Cancer Society is conducting a cancer prevention study and Lincoln residents can get involved with the study during Relay for Life on Saturday. Kris Wyatt, this year’s Relay for Life chairwoman, said the study’s sign up will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the fundraiser. Relay for Life will be from 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday and will raise money in support of the American Cancer Society. Fifty-six teams are signed up so far and each team will walk the equivalent of 24 hours, according to Wyatt. If a team has 24 members, each member would only have to walk around the Lincoln High School stadium track for one hour. Wyatt said there have been two previous cancer prevention studies, one in the ‘50s and the other in the ‘70s. The first study linked smoking to cancer, according to Wyatt, and the second linked obesity to cancer. “This one looks at environment and nutrition,” Wyatt said. The study, which requires those participating to be between the ages of 30 and 65 and cancer free, will take place for the next 20 years. This means participants will need to be committed to the study during its duration, according to Wyatt, who said “every couple of years, they will need to fill out a survey” that comes in the mail. Participants will have their waists measured and have blood drawn once, according to Wyatt. Wyatt’s mother is a 48-year cancer survivor and her father died from cancer. Wyatt will participate in the study. “I want my children and their grandchildren not to hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’ and if this study makes that possible, it’s worth it,” Wyatt said. Mia Guzman, an event chair for this year’s Relay for Life, will also participate in the cancer- prevention study, also because of her three daughters. “I would like to make a difference,” Guzman said. “If I can help my girls to not have to deal with cancer, that’s my goal.” She’s hoping to involve Lincoln’s Latino community so they can “be advocates for their kids” when it comes to cancer prevention. “I think it’s a really crucial long-term cancer study,” said Ellen Byron, a Relay for Life planning committee member. “I think there’s a lot of research to be done for living a better, cancer-free life.” Byron, whose husband died from cancer four years ago, will also be part of the cancer-prevention study, and said, “it’s really important as a community to be become aware of cancer prevention.” The length of the study is something Byron said she’ll be able to follow through with. “I hope I am healthy and strong and find out what causes cancer and what doesn’t cause cancer,” Byron said.