Taylor volunteers for American Cancer Society

Jana Taylor wants to see an end to cancer.

“After I got married and had children, the most important thing to me was for my children not to know cancer,” she said. “The most important thing to me is for us to find a cure before they know what it is.”

The Westwind Elementary teacher, who is serving on the area’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life team, has seen cancer’s effects.

Her grandfather, Floyd McCluskey, died of colon cancer.

“That kind of prompted me to be involved in the Relay for Life,” said Taylor. “I’ve always donated to the American Cancer Society, but it really didn’t mean as much to me (as volunteering).

“ … My grandfather had colon cancer. He was my father figure and that was devastating. That’s pretty immediate to me. That’s why I relay.”

Cancer remains the No. 2 killer in the United States, behind heart disease, according to American Cancer Society statistics. About one in four deaths in the United States are caused by cancer.

More than 96,000 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Texas in 2008, said American Cancer Society officials.

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is set at Lowrey Field on May 2-3.

The Relay for Life is an overnight event which raises funds in the fight against cancer. It celebrates cancer survivors and remembers those who lost their fight against cancer.

Taylor became involved as a volunteer on the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life about eight years ago.

“You stay up all night long,” she said. “The thing is cancer never sleeps, neither do we. That’s the whole point of relay. I just got hooked.”

Taylor said she is serving on the registration committee this year.

“Actually, my duty on the committee is registration and not a relay,” she said. “I’m in charge of getting people through the door and making sure where they are going, and get their packets.”

Taylor, a lab manager and former Character Counts teacher, serve as Westwind Elementary’s Relay for Life captain. The captains help raise money in the fight against cancer.

“The most important thing I could do is to promote awareness and try to help people with prevention. It’s just a horrible, horrible thing,” said Taylor.

She wants to instill a helpful attitude in schoolchildren so they know what it feels like to serve someone or the community.

Taylor said the school plans to have Relay buck Fridays. Students pay $1 to wear crazy hair or socks each Friday. The funds raised will go to the American Cancer Society.

“It is important for not only what my family does, but also the people around me to know what good character is,” said Taylor.

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