Relay for Life breathes life into programs

PARKERSBURG – Numerous programs reap the benefits of the annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

Funds raised by the event goes toward national and local programs for patients and survivors, said Susan Warman, community manager for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

The Wood and Washington County Relay for Life events start Friday evening.

The society offers programs, housing and counseling for patients going through a hard time in their lives. The society offers a place to stay with the Hope Lodge, travel through the Road to Recovery program, wigs and personal beauty items through the Look Good, Feel Better program as well as counseling sessions through the Reach to Recovery initiative.

Local programs take place every day with the help of volunteers at the Camden Clark Medical Center cancer research facility, coordinators said.

“They know what you’ve been through,” Warman said of the volunteers with the research center.

Wigs and hats are available free of charge to patients beginning to or have already lost their hair, she said.

The local Road to Recover program allows trained volunteer drivers to assist people in getting to and from their cancer treatments and appointments. Often times the volunteers have gone through cancer or know someone who has and can build relationships with the patients, Warman said.

The local Look Good, Feel Better program takes place at Camden Clark in medical office building B and allows patients to go through a workshop conducted by local volunteer and licensed cosmotologists.

Make-up and products are all donated for patients to use during the two hour workshop.

“It’s just amazing to see the difference from the women when they walk in the doors,” Warman said. “Some of these ladies have never even worn make-up.”

At the end of the process Warman said volunteers can see the difference in confidence generated by the women who participate in the workshop.

Reach to Recovery offers one-on-one partnerships with breast cancer survivors. Women who are diagnosed are paired up with a woman who is at least a one-year survivor, Warman said.

The programs offered aren’t just for women, men are accommodated as well. Man to Man offers men-only monthly meetings where they can talk about the struggles they are going through with volunteers and other men who understand, Warman said.

“It offers someone you can talk to, it’s an amazing group of people,” she said.

The community as of May 7 had raised 45 percent of the goal for Wood County, Warman said. The goal for the walk in 2013 is set at $265,000 and Warman said that number stays close to the same amount.

“Wood County is in the top 10 per capita,” she added.

About 72 percent of the money raised in the relay goes towards prevention programs to help people “stay well,” she said. Some of the money goes towards finding a cure, too.

“About 400 more people a day are celebrating birthdays,” she said.

Worldwide, 213 people beat cancer daily and $148 million goes toward cancer research.

Anyone can contact the cancer society office at 304-422-1472, option 3, call the toll free number at 1-800-227-2345 or visit