hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

February 21, 2013

Whether you run, walk or donate, there's always a way to pitch in

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Kevin Belanger has all the motivation anyone needs to adopt a cause and passionately support it.

Three years ago, his sister died from melanoma, cancer of the skin which can spread internally and be fatal if left untreated.

She was 45 and had three children. She died a year after being diagnosed with the disease.

Belanger, 50, a local distance runner, wears his sister’s cancer cap whenever he trains or goes in races. The cap is a motivational tool that reminds him why he is running and inspires him to work hard at it. (See story, page 1.)

“I wear it to keep her memory alive and I draw strength from it,” Belanger told Reporter Mike LaBella.

It also reminds him to do his best reaching out to the public, enlisting its support for the fight against cancer.

Belanger works with the Melanoma Foundation of New England to raise money to research and fight the kind of cancer that took his sister’s life. He will run in the Boston Marathon this year to raise money from donors. He is determined to help other melanoma victims and their families and to prevent the disease from affecting future generations.

Other people run the Boston Marathon and other races to raise money and awareness for causes. Still others participate in walks to raise money and share information about diseases and people who need help.

There are countless ways to get involved in the fight against cancer and other diseases, or other causes. You don’t have to run 26 miles or walk five kilometers.

You can volunteer at events to become part of the organizing and support staff. You can help spread the word out by distributing flyers or spreading the word at your school, church or where you work.

Or you can simply give a few dollars, whatever you can afford. Every buck counts. Every phone call seeking donations counts. Every word of encouragement for participants and volunteers counts.

If everyone could find their own niche, something to support, and put aside a little time every so often, we could accomplish so much more. Perhaps cures to diseases would come more quickly. A deeper spirit of community would certainly emerge.

To do our part, we don’t have to run a marathon like Kevin Belanger. But we can support him and others in our own way, limited though it might be.

Every little bit counts.