There is tremendous power in hope. It can lift you up in moments of despair, carry you through life’s struggles and give you strength to move forward.

Hope is the central theme surrounding the American Cancer Society’s fundraising efforts. There is no doubting hope plays a central role in anyone’s fight against cancer.

Hope alone, however, cannot generate change. That takes action.

I’ve committed myself to action this month, working on behalf of the Relay for Life of Charlotte in an effort to raise money for cancer research. I am participating in an American Cancer Society campaign called Power in Purple, one of three local candidates that have committed to sharing the “Power in Purple.”

My reasons to relay are many, but the most powerful are the memories of loved ones who have passed while fighting cancer to the bitter end. None of them were ever defeated by the disease … not their spirit anyway.

I’ve maybe never been more inspired than by my stepbrother, Blake, who at 19 years old faced the most difficult battle of his life. He did it with grace, with humor and with fierce determination. Cancer took his life in 2012, but it never took his spirit.

He will always be a reminder to me that strength and courage can always be found regardless of the circumstances. He’s the biggest reason I’ve agreed to take action this month.

You see, asking people for donations does not fit my personality. Fund-raising is one of those things I try to stay away from if possible. Not this time. The cause is too important. Too many people in this community have lost loved ones, or have seen how cancer can ravage a family.

So, I’m finding my own strength and courage to ask for your donation, big or small. Let’s work together to make a difference in the fight against cancer. Donating is easy, simply find my online profile at

I will be coming up with other ways to raise funds this month and will use my personal Facebook profile and the County Journal website ( to spread the word. My goal is $1,000, which is no small undertaking, but I’m confident we can get there.

Our community is already making a difference as a strong supporter of Relay for Life and the collective spirit felt when it bands people from all walks of life together. Relay for Life has brought people together in this community, raising close to $1 million for cancer research in the process.

And, we are making a difference.

The number of cancer survivors in the United States continues to grow, because more and more, people are winning their battles. The American Cancer Society estimates that by 2024 there will be 19 million cancer survivors living in the United States.

By continuing to come together during Relay for Life, by raising money, taking part in cancer studies, or showing your support for those fighting for their lives, the survival rates will only continue to improve. This is how we make a difference, how we fight against a disease bent on taking our loved ones.