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Walk to help fund cancer foundation

NORCROSS -- Former Duluth basketball coach Joe Marelle has always remembered the words of his father: "No matter how bad (or well) off you are, there's always someone who's got it worse."

So although his lymphoma has been in remission since 2001, he's one of many that has, and will be, helping out with the sixth annual Georgia Lymphomathon when it comes to the Wesleyan School on Saturday.

"I'm nothing special," Marelle said. "I'm just ordinary Joe, but this ordinary Joe needs to do anything he can to help people want to help other people."

Lymphoma is one of the few cancers today that is still increasing in frequency, and is found in an estimated 74,340 Americans every year. Doctors still know very little about the causes of blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia.

Ron Whitten, a local Lymphoma Research Foundation advocate and lymphoma survivor, stressed the need for events like the lymphomathon to make a difference.

"Involvement in fundraising and advocacy for more research is going to move us faster and closer to our goal," he said. "That's why we need people out there. Giving finances for research, giving time and advocacy, to let them know that we have the potential to really make a difference."

In the walk's five previous years, anywhere from 125 to 300 people have participated, and anywhere from $25,000 to $90,000 has been raised, Whitten said. Since its founding in 2003, the nationwide Lymphomathon program has raised over $7.5 million.

This year's 5K walk will begin at 10 a.m., and is free to participate in. Interested donors, groups and corporate sponsors can still go to www.lymphomathon.com/

Georgia2010 for more information.

"It's well worth my little time," Marelle said. "Like I said, I'm just one person. But if one person gets another person to help and so on, before you know it you have an army of people to help. And when you have an army of people sometimes good things happen."

"You can't imagine how important this type of event can be for other people," he added, "today or tomorrow."