WHEELING - It's ugly and plays no favorite.
Moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles. Cancer destroys families and if you are fortunate enough to live a long, prosperous life, someone you know will be affected, and in the worst cases leave us too soon. Folks, it's not a matter of if, but rather when.
There are a lot of worthy causes out there these days for all different ailments and situations, and unfortunately it's impossible to give our time or open our wallet to them all. For me, anything having to do with that 'C word' is something I will throw my weight - there seems to be more of it each year - behind.
My grandfather, John Nice, was taken from us by the disease.
Christy Hill, a woman I knew since she was roughly in seventh grade, beat it once but was taken from us by the disease this year.
Randy Stephens, then a senior at Wheeling Park High School and the Wheeling Nailers fan to top them all, beat it but was eventually taken from us by the disease last year.
Hines Rotriga, a 2-year-old area resident that you no doubt have heard a lot about, is still to this day battling and we absolutely, positively cannot allow the disease to take him.
Michael Carroll, a Wheeling Park student who battled Leukemia and was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Grade IV Brain Tumor due to the radiation from the treatments last year, cannot and will not leave us. Not on our watch.
These are just a few of the thousands of heartbreaking stories - not country-wide, but here in the Ohio Valley.
This is a very personal endeavor for me. Not only did we lose my grandfather, but my Dad is a cancer survivor, as are my Mother in-Law and several other family members.
We can put a stop to this with more funding. Every dollar raised hopefully gets us one step closer to finding a cure once and for all.
Far be it for me to tell you how to spend your hard-earned money, so I won't. Chances are you have already seen the affects cancer has on a family, both during and after the battle, and don't need a nudge.
With that being said, I humbly ask for your support at 8 p.m. tomorrow night at Wheeling Park High School.
For the second time I will be playing on the Ohio County Relay for Life Basketball Team as we take on members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, both past and present, who are gracious enough to take time out of their hectic schedules to be a part of a great cause.
I know what you're thinking ... football players attempting to put a ball in a basket? That must be about as fun as watching water polo.
Having first-hand experience, I can tell you it's worth the $7 to see these guys, and that doesn't even account for the free autographs you will have a chance to receive with your price of admission. When I think of a 6-6, 348-pound lineman, I see a guy who is nothing more than big, strong and slow, and whose job description consists of having to go hard for about eight seconds at a time.
Now, I will never be confused with a body builder or a guy who is 'in shape,' but I can tell you that even in the offseason these big, bad Steelers - even the biggest of them - are in a type of physical condition that you can't begin to fathom.
We teach our youth players to box out when a shot goes up, but that's not much help against a guy that moves buildings for a living. If you think they can't run because they do their job in a 5-yard radius, well think again.
Hey, you can come out and jeer me if you like. My household is as pro-Steelers a one as you will find, but my own wife will be rooting against me (I am holding our hope that our three children will want to see Dad's team win again like last year).
The important thing is that we band together in a common fight. No one person - afflicted or affected - can beat this alone.
See you Saturday, and thanks for supporting a great cause.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com