Dick Hagerty: Riders, walkers going to war against cancer at Modesto’s Johansen High School

05/07/2014 4:24 PM

05/07/2014 4:25 PM

Having reached the 25-year mark in my personal cancer survival, I am especially interested in the springtime events in our community that continue the battle against this dreaded disease.

On Saturday, Modesto attorney Bob Fores, along with the community-minded members of his organization team, will stage the third Ride for Mom at Johansen High School. This event is inspired by the memory of his mother, who died nine years ago of cancer. Bob rather candidly says that had she been more careful with diet, exercise and other lifestyle areas she might still be alive today.

The theme is “Be Active, Eat Healthy, Live Better.”

Some 400 riders will take part in three separate rides from an easy 15 miler to a 100-mile “century” for serious riders. All the proceeds are donated each year to local agencies that stress working for healthier lifestyles in treating cancer and other serious diseases.

Hats off to Bob for this worthwhile endeavor and such a marvelous tribute to his late mother.

The following weekend features the annual Relay for Life as literally dozens of teams and thousands of walkers take to the Johansen High stadium track for a 24-hour walk to raise funds and awareness for cancer survival. Dozens and dozens of local businesses and groups will pitch camp in the infield. The employees of several of my companies take this event very seriously and Lenita, my office manager at Modesto Welding Products, has personally raised tens of thousands of dollars through her hard work.

Come early for a free “Survivors Breakfast” and join me in the opening lap for cancer survivors. As I begin my 26th year following serious colon cancer surgery, you will find me in the very front rows, proudly showing that there is life – and hope – after receiving the dreaded news that you are afflicted with this deadly disease.

All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society to aid in research and progress in the medical war on cancer.

There are numerous ways the medical and scientific worlds are working to control this disease. The focus of Bob Fores looks to eradication of tobacco use, better diet, exercise and early detection. Most of these efforts are strictly nonscientific, but proven strategies in waging the battle.

The research side of the fight is equally promising. My nephew does advanced research in the Bay Area for Roche, a pharmaceutical company. We frequently discuss the new avenues opening in the quest for a cure. Joe tells me that while his and other companies continue to fine-tune various chemo and medicinal processes, the best weapon against cancer is the human body itself.

Our immune systems are highly effective at combating cancer, and any other form of disease or abnormal health situation. While chemos and medicines are helpful, Joe tells me that our best hopes of finding the cure lie in the ability of medical science to “teach” the body to heal itself. Thus, in his opinion, the most effective chemo treatment is the one that simply leads the body’s own immune capabilities toward the most effective manner of self-healing.

But such research efforts are extremely costly. Thanks to Bob Fores, the Relay for Life teams and all who support the American Cancer Society as we continue to seek an effective cure for cancer.

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