You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has not been touched by cancer. In the United States and in Canada, one in two men and one in three women will confront some form of this terrible disease at some point during their lives. Even more sobering is the fact that a man’s chances of dying from cancer are one in four and a woman’s chances are one in five.
Improving on these statistics is one of the primary goals of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America. An abundance of materials developed by our expert staff promote the cancer-reducing benefits of leading a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise. We take pride in educating LIUNA members and signatory contractors about ways to reduce exposures to cancer-causing hazards both on and off the job.
This year, the LHSFNA decided to bolster these initiatives by raising funds for cancer research. LIUNA, through the Laborers’ Charitable Foundation, joined as a Founding Partner with The Ride to Conquer Cancer®, a 150-mile bicycle journey benefitting Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital, three hospitals in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore communities that are leading the fight in helping cancer patients beat the disease. Held the weekend of September 13th, the event marked the first Ride to Conquer Cancer in the U.S. LIUNA was proud to form Team LIUNA, a group of LIUNA and LHSFNA staff members who signed on to ride, raise money and volunteer their time at rest stations along the way. By the weekend of the event, Team LIUNA had raised more than $60,000 in donations. This was in addition to the $80,000 donated directly to the Ride by the Laborers’ Charitable Foundation and the $50,000 donated to the Kimmel Cancer Center. All of these generous contributions are already being used to improve the lives of cancer patients across the region and to work toward eradicating the disease.
This edition of Lifelines also examines another aspect of cancer prevention in light of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A lump is often the first indication of this disease, but that’s not always the case, and there are lesser-known symptoms to be aware of. Time is of the essence when it comes to successfully fighting cancer.
This month we also take a look at several other issues to help promote the health and safety of our members and their families. One such topic is noise exposure, which can cause permanent hearing loss as well as raise your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. We also examine that most basic piece of construction equipment, the hard hat. Even though it may seem like it, hard hats don’t last forever. When was the last time you really looked at yours? Find out if it’s time for a replacement.
We also use this month’s issue of Lifelines to call attention to mental health. Many people wrestle with depression, and as the recent death of comedian Robin Williams shows, smiling on the outside does not always mean all is well within. This month’s article on depression can help alert you to warning signs that someone you care about may be struggling, and explains what you can do to help.
Lastly, we encourage our readers in the U.S. to get out and vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Exercising your right to vote in these elections is an opportunity to show support for those in Congress or shake things up. Elected officials make decisions that affect everyone’s health and safety both on and off the job. Voting helps ensure your voice is heard.