Volunteer recruits people for cancer studyAs a child, Lydia Miller enjoyed going with her mother on volunteer activities for the American Cancer Society. Miller, who lives in Superior, grew up on a farm, and it was nice to get off the farm and see other people, she says now.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
As a child, Lydia Miller enjoyed going with her mother on volunteer activities for the American Cancer Society. Miller, who lives in Superior, grew up on a farm, and it was nice to get off the farm and see other people, she says now.
But she didn’t understand why her mother worked so hard for the cancer society until she was 42 and learned she had breast cancer.
“Suddenly it hit me that my grandmother had died of cancer, my aunts and uncles died of cancer, and ah! — that’s why she was raising money for cancer, because now I have cancer,” said Miller, who at 63 is a 20-year cancer survivor.
Now Miller, a retired business instructor from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, is herself a volunteer for the cancer society. She helps with the annual Superior-Douglas County Rally for Life and organizes a Survivorship Dinner on the Thursday night before that event.
Lately, Miller has been visiting friends, churches and the stores at Mariner Mall to advocate for participation in a massive, long-term study designed to answer some of the remaining questions about cancer.
Since Cancer Prevention Study-3 first was publicized in February, 423 people have registered for the eight Twin Ports sites, said Marjorie Johnson, a Duluth-based specialist for the American Cancer Society. Enrollment begins today and continues through Saturday.There is room for more than 700 participants, and walk-ins will be accepted as space allows, Johnson said.
It’s the same sort of study as previous studies that led to breakthroughs such as discovering the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, Johnson said.
This study will analyze environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors, she said, “so we can keep a lot more Lydias alive.”
“But we’re only going to know if people sign up and are tested and followed,” Miller added. Johnson noted that the American Cancer Society will observe its 100th anniversary on May 22.
“Our big thing right now is we want to finish the cancer fight,” Johnson said. “We want to make this cancer’s last century.”
As a cancer survivor, Miller isn’t eligible for the study. But she has a simple reason for working hard to get other people enrolled, she said: “So my grandchildren don’t have to hear that they have cancer.”