Relay for life kick-off event
The Emery County Relay for Life held their kick-off event to begin the relay season. The reason to relay is always about the people who are fighting cancer currently, those who have beaten cancer and those who have lost their battle with cancer. The Emery relay this year will be on July 15-16 at the Emery High track facility. The relay committee is signing up teams now and you can sign up on-line at any time.
Joyce Swaner is the relay support person for the Emery relay from the American Cancer Society. She said her job is to support the community and help with the relay. Relay for Life was started by Dr. Platt in Tacoma, Wash. and he hosted the first relay 27 years ago when he ran for 24 hours to help people and to raise funds for cancer patients and research. Since that initial event, $3 billion has been raised by Relay for Life events. There are now 5,000 overnight events that extend worldwide. Swaner said the reason the relay is held overnight is because out of the darkness of cancer comes the hope of light and a new day. Life can continue on after a cancer diagnosis.
Relay 2011 is being dedicated to Vicki Crosland who is fighting cancer again. Swaner said that no matter how much we do it's never enough and there are always those people who are facing cancer for the first time and those fighting it again and again.
All present at the relay kick-off meeting introduced themselves and why they are helping out with the relay. Many are friends, sisters, daughters, brothers, sons of those who recently passed away from cancer or who have cancer now. They are getting involved in the fight.
Brenda Jensen is the luminary chairperson for relay. Beginning this year the luminary sales will go towards team totals for fundraising. Wylie Nelson is the youth chairman. He is a cancer survivor. Becky Nelson is the hospitality chairman. Amanda Bjarnson is the chairman along with Diane Tadehara.
Swaner said the money they've raised at relay is making a difference. The money raised in the past is helping with new treatments today.
To register a team go to www.relayforlife.org/castledaleut.
Chelsea Young spoke to the relay meeting participants. She said she had a hard time thinking of what to say. She has recently developed a relationship with cancer that she never wanted. She knew about cancer, her grandma had cancer, she remembers jars in the communities for Wylie Nelson and others with cancer; her friend Jennifer had cancer. But cancer really hit home February of 2010. Young was brushing her young daughter Daphne's teeth when she felt a lump on her daughters neck. She panicked and called her husband. Tests were performed. The lump was discolored. In April at her 3-year old check-up, Daphne didn't want to use her arms and she cried a lot. Daphne tripped over a rug and broke her arm. She developed hives and was completely covered. She fell off a stool and broke her leg all within a short period of time. As she was having her leg fixed, she passed out. Her blood oxygen was way too low. They wanted to observe Daphne. She was miserable. The doctor called and said it's probably leukemia. She was in Provo in the hospital, but was transferred by ambulance to Primary Childrens where they admitted her. They put in a port and that was the start for her to get better. She couldn't move. Her leg was in a cast. Her arm was in a cast. She was miserable. She was diagnosed with pre B cell ALA and she is currently in a two year treatment program.
The doctors said there is an 80 percent survival rate. Then they increased it to 95-98 percent because she is a low risk for relapse. So after five years in recovery her survival rate will be 95-98 percent. "She's done really well. For six months her treatment was intense. The treatment will continue for two years. She has been nauseated here and there, and has undergone physical therapy, but she is very cheerful and happy. Now she is on steroids. We'd rather not do this, but we are doing well. There are so many kinds of cancer. You can't run and hide from cancer. I can't not do anything. So that's why I'm here to relay. We need to do what we can to help others," said Young.
Swaner said that no one can face cancer alone. We are all here to share the burden. Cancer affects everyone young and old alike. Daphne calls the other children with cancer her "circlehead friends," because they are all bald.
Swaner said there are people still dying of cancer but we can help work to reduce those numbers and to help people enjoy life as long as possible. Swaner encouraged everyone to be proactive against cancer in their own lives. Eat right, eat better, take your vitamins and anti-oxidants, don't smoke, don't drink, get some exercise. Women should be vaccinated against the virus that can cause cervical cancer.
Vicki Crosland is battling cancer again. She told the group of the troubles she's had with insurance. One day the Price hospital called and told her she didn't have insurance and in processing her claims they found out she hadn't had it for two months. In that two month time she had several treatments as well as a bone marrow biopsy. She said at that time she sunk as low as she could go. Without insurance she felt her treatments must stop. She had maxed out her insurance. She found a new program called HIP Utah and it has given her new hope. They accept people who have been dropped from other insurance carriers. It's expensive, but she has insurance again. Crosland encouraged everyone to look at their insurance to see if they can be maxed out and to become familiar with their coverage because you never know. She said under the new Obamacare health care plan, insurance companies wouldn't be able to max people out.
All the participants this night enjoyed refreshments and door prizes as they begin the relay season. Monthly meetings will be held from now to relay in July. Cancer survivor stories will be printed in the Emery County Progress between March and July. If you have a story you would like to share contact Diane Tadehara or Patsy Stoddard at 381-2431.