Relay Holds Special
Meaning For Survivor
Letters to the editors are usually complaints, opinions and complements. In this case, I want to write a letter of thanks.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), Relay for Life has helped me in my fight to overcome cancer. The Relay represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported and that one day cancer will be eliminated. As a cancer survivor, the Relay is a time to celebrate with other survivors, caregivers, family and friends.
How did I get here? It all started over five years ago with a blood work-up suggested by my doctor. The test showed a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) at an elevated range. After further examinations and testing, I was diagnosed with an aggressive stage of prostate cancer. At this point, after discussions with three doctors and my wife, calling the American Cancer Society (ACS) and attending a Man to Man support group sponsored by ACS, I made my decision to go ahead with radiated seed implant.
When I found out I had cancer, I told myself and anyone that would listen that I was going to beat this dreaded disease. Weeks after my procedure, I was working as a volunteer at Atlantic General Hospital in the Surgical Unit. I was approached by a nurse to become part of the Relay for Life team, The Blue Angels. I did not know much about the Relay but I knew I wanted to raise money for ACS.
The Relay has many functions but what is so heart warming, is the opening ceremony. The survivor’s name is announced and how long they have been a survivor. At this time, they gather with other survivors for their ceremonial lap. The survivors consist of men, women and children of all ages and races. You hear the cheers and applause from the audience and it just makes you want to work harder to beat this disease. Your eyes tear up and your heart throbs when you see a young mother pushing a stroller with a 2-year-old child who is also trying to beat cancer. The feelings that we endure in the lap walk are three-fold: joy, for being here; hope, for others to overcome cancer; and sadness, for those who lost the battle to cancer.
Many thanks must go out to Atlantic General Hospital for hosting the reception and Worcester community for their hard work in helping make the Relay a success. A special thanks to the young school students, pre-teens and teenagers who not only cheer the survivors on but have their own teams in helping to fight cancer. They are so special to the survivors.
As a volunteer for American Cancer Society and a five-year survivor, I want to invite all cancer survivors and caregivers to join us on May 8 at 6 p.m. at Frontier Town.