Reba Sarkar, the hard-working president of the local chapter of the American Breast Cancer Association, gets it exactly right when she points out that moms need pampering -- especially on Mother's Day -- because they often forgo attention to their own well-being while devoting their attention to the care of others.
"Mothers usually tend to neglect their own heath and take care of everybody else in the family," Sarkar says.
To help make up for that neglect, the association Friday will hold its third annual A Tribute to Mothers Food Festival at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. It's a time of food and fun, but also of fund-raising for research into finding a cure for the fifth-leading cause of death among women.
Friday night also is the kickoff for Augusta's Relay for Life, which this year celebrates its 20th year of fund-raising for the American Cancer Society. Teams will gather overnight at the Family Y on Wheeler Road to culminate this year's effort.
Cancer is a killer in all forms. The American Cancer Society predicts nearly 70,000 women will die this year from lung cancer, and more than 40,000 from breast cancer. Those numbers are dwarfed, however, by the nearly 400,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke, the leading killers of women.
In a broad sense, all those diseases -- with the exception of breast cancer, which in many respects is more frightening precisely because its cause largely remains a mystery -- are somewhat symptomatic of self-neglect. Smoking, lack of exercise and poor eating habits send too many women, and far too many mothers, to an early grave.
Children who care about their moms have a duty on this Mother's Day to help mom stay healthy for many more Mother's Days. Supporting the cancer society events next weekend are a good start.
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