Most of us have been impacted by cancer in some way. Now hundreds of South Dakotans are fighting back against the disease by taking part in a study.
Bonnie Rippentrop gets to spend plenty of time with her grandchildren, especially five-year-old Ciana, three-year-old Kelsey and one-year-old Tenlee who live nearby.
"They're the love of my life. We have two little boys and five little girls, and we love every minute we can spend with them," Rippentrop said.
"We get to make rice krispie bars and she spoils us," Ciana said.
But Ciana's mother was not quite so lucky when she was a child.
"My grandma died from cancer, and it was actually very fast, like three weeks from the day she found out about it she died from that," Breann Stiefel said.
Now this mother and daughter are making cancer prevention a family outing. They're enrolling in the American Cancer Society's CPS-3 study together.
"This is a landmark study. This study could help us to find out what causes cancer and what doesn't cause cancer," South Dakota American Cancer Society's Director of Health Partnerships Denise Kolba said.
During the enrollment, participants fill out a survey that asks questions about a person's lifestyle and environment.
"We are looking at things like where you might be working, what you do on a daily basis, how much exercise, what you eat and some environmental things you might be exposed to," Kolba said.
They'll also get their weight measured and provide a blood sample.
"The blood samples we're looking at a variety of things. We might be looking at hormone levels, nutrient levels in the blood, and genetic markers in the blood," Kolba said.
After this enrollment, participants will have to fill out follow-up questionnaires every two to three years for 20 to 30 years.
"It's imperative that we learn about the prevention side of cancer because it's much easier to prevent this disease than treat this disease," Kolba said.
And this family is fighting back against the disease because they know how devastating cancer can be.
"I wish I had my grandparents around when I was little. That was the only thing I missed out in my life, and I really want that for them," Breann said.
"I just want to do it so that my grandchildren, my daughter, my sons, and my husband will be some day free. They don't have to worry about cancer and if they do get cancer, there will be a cure for it," Rippentrop said.
You can still take part in the study. Stop by the Avera Prairie Center Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
You must be between 30 and 65 years old and never been diagnosed with cancer.