Relay has personal connection

Published 11:52 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

As the Marengo County Relay for Life gets ramped up for their annual fundraiser I would like to share my own Relay story.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 10 years ago.

Breast cancer runs on my mother’s side of the family. She’s never said, and I’ve never asked, but I think my mom had prepared herself mentally for years to be diagnosed with the disease.

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She’s been a health nut for as far back as I can remember. I think her diet and exercise routine was part of her plan to avoid it as best as possible. It didn’t work.

She took the news remarkably well.

It was caught early and I feel confident my mother, a registered nurse, knew as much about the disease and how it would be treated than those who were about to perform the procedures.

Education can be a powerful tool but in some cases it can be too powerful. My mom knew too much about breast cancer. She knew the treatment series. She knew what to expect and she knew, within reason, her odds of winning this fight.

There was little the doctors could tell her that she didn’t already know.

My mother won her battle with cancer and remains a healthy and active woman to this day. She’s also taken a proactive role in the fights that may or may not be in store for other women.

She’s got the pink ribbons, which she displays proudly. She rarely misses a survivor event and takes part in as many Susan G. Koman events as feasibly possible.

Relay for Life raises millions and millions of dollars each year for cancer research and those dollars are put toward helping people like my mother beat cancer, whether that struggle lies in the breast, the prostate, the stomach, the lungs or anywhere else.

Cancer is a disease that has become a lot less fatal in the last 10 years. I remember when cancer was a death sentence. If the disease didn’t kill you the invasive treatments might.

Thanks to those who participate in Relay, including the good people of Marengo County, more and more men and women are walking away from cancer treatments with more hope than ever before.

As the parent of a four year old girl who shares some of the same genes as my mother, I have a lot of hope penned to what events like Relay are able to accomplish over the next several years in terms of cures and treatments.

I feel confident we’re only a handful of years away from a cure and Relay for Life is a big reason why.

If you are interested participating in this year’s Relay, please contact Shelia Snow at 289-0637. The world thanks you for your support.