Fighting Cancer: Huntington readies for cancer fund raiser
Huntington will host a fundraiser on April 16 at 5 p.m. at the Canyon View Junior High. There will be a BBQ pork dinner and an auction. There are at least 14 members of the Huntington/Lawrence area at this time fighting cancer. Proceeds raised will go to help with medical expenses. That morning they will be taking donations for a yard sale beginning between 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Canyon View Junior High. The yard sale begins at 1 p.m. Items are needed for the yard sale, bake sale and auction. Please support this fundraiser. There are future plans for a golf tournament, trap shooting contest and a concert in the park during the summer to continue fundraising. The Huntington Youth City Council will be selling pizza coupons from BKs and homemade glazed doughnuts. There will be a bake sale during the auction as well.
A fun run will be hosted that morning at 9 a.m. beginning at the Huntington City Park all proceeds will go to the cancer fundraiser. Call Julie Jones 749-0674 and RuthAnn Ekker 749-1233 with questions.
In addition to the other activities a Zumba-thon is planned for April 9 at Canyon View Junior High from 9-11 a.m. Check in at 8:30 a.m.
Come party for a good cause for two hours or as long as you want. Registration at the door $10. Contact Cheryl at 687-9317. Bring your own water and snacks will be provided.
Cancer is an indiscriminate disease which can strike anyone at any time. Huntington/Lawrence has been particularly hard hit as of late. Two cancer survivors undergoing treatment at this time are LaRae Majors for breast cancer and BreAnne Simmons for cervical cancer. These tough ladies took a moment to speak about the disease and the changes brought into their lives by having cancer.
Majors said she was having some discomfort under her arm pit. She thought she had pulled a muscle or maybe she was just getting old. She went in for a MRI but it wasn't until a biopsy was completed that she found out it was cancer. She said she kind of drug her feet from the time of the MRI to the biopsy and too much time passed. She didn't think cancer could happen to her because she had been healthy her whole life. The doctor told her it was genetics. You can't change your genetics. The lump was two centimeters to start with and by the time the removal of the lump took place it had grown to 6.5 centimeters in eight months. "I was really in denial and refused to follow-up with treatment. The doctor asked if it would bother me to have cancer and I said no, but that's not what it is. But, they did the biopsy and it was cancer and it had to come out. I really didn't have any symptoms. My shoulder ached a bit, but I help the kids in the gym with their gymnastics and I thought it was sore from working in the gym. And, I thought maybe I'm just getting old. I have been bad about getting mammograms. But this cancer wasn't in the breast, it was way under my chest cavity well under the arm pit. I recommend that all ladies have their mammograms. When they did the surgery they did a complete mastectomy, but no cancer was found in the breast it was deep under my armpit. It's been a crazy ride. I have had chemotherapy and that totally knocked me down. I had no energy. You would start feeling a little better, then it was time for another treatment. I go to the radiologist on Monday to find out if I need radiation treatments. I've always felt that I'm a tough old broad and I told my daughter this wasn't going to kill me. I've still got too much left to do. I was feeling so low that they did have to give me four units of blood and after that I perked up. After 7-10 days after a treatment is when you're the most vulnerable. Chemo really just kills your body, all your hair falls out, I lost my nails. Chemo, I know affects everyone differently, but I was really sick. My cancer was stage three when it was found. I am getting stronger each day with a little more energy each day. I am working in the studio a little bit now. It's been quite a trip. I have had so much support. My family and friends, employees have all been so great. The food, flowers and prayers have been so appreciated. You don't really realize how much other people are important in your life. The cards and letters of support, it's really been amazing," said Majors.
Breanne Simmons said she wasn't feeling well and it was time for her yearly pap smear. She recommends all ladies get their yearly testing done. It's so important for catching cancer early. Her doctor knew something was wrong, when he completed the examination. When the biopsy came back it was cancer of the cervix. Her cancer was in stage 1B. They don't know why she contracted cancer. It was something viral. It was caught early. There was a large tumor on the cervix. Surgery was performed immediately. A complete hysterectomy was completed. Simmons has just recently completed radiation. She was referred to the Huntsman Cancer Institute where they reviewed her case. Because the tumor was so big and she was feverish when she went in for the surgery, they determined she should have radiation.
Both Simmons and Majors don't know why they contracted cancer, Majors is 68 years old and Simmons will be 32 soon. Majors said she envisions cancer as being like a Pacman on a video game, that enters your body and eats all the good cells. "The cells in your body are always replacing themselves. The cancer grows and grows. It can happen to anyone at any time," said Majors.
Simmons has completed her radiation treatments now and has to go back every few months for testing to make sure she remains free of cancer. They tested her lymph nodes and they are cancer free. Simmons is starting to feel better, but she has had pain in her legs and her bladder isn't functioning properly. When organs are removed from the body, it takes the body awhile to readjust and begin functioning again. With the radiation treatments she became a little sick, but she's mostly very tired. "I had people drive me back and forth to treatments so I could get back as soon as possible to be with my girls. I have four daughters. This has been a very difficult time. I was also going through a divorce at the time my cancer was found, so emotionally it's been very draining. I've had so much help from my girls and my family and my church community. I've tried to go to all my girl's activities and continue a normal life as much as possible, but it's been hard. I still have a lot left to do in my life and I keep on going. A good attitude is helpful as you battle something like cancer," said Simmons.
Majors plans to walk in the 5K on April 16, "I'm going to try it," she said.
Statistics involving Emery County and cancer include: in Emery County Between 2003-07 there were 39 incidences of cancer per year. The recent trend is stable. This death rate is below the US rate. The average deaths per year (2003-2007) is 15. The annual death rate (2003-2007) is 144.0 per 100,000 with a 95 percent confidence interval from 113.0 to 180.9
In comparison with Salt Lake County. The recent trend is falling. This death rate is below the US rate. The average deaths per year (2003-2007) is 992 The annual death rate (2003-2007) is 139.9 per 100,000 with a 95 percent confidence interval from 135.9 to 143.9.
In comparing the cancer rate deaths in Emery County to Salt Lake County there is a 4.1 higher percentage rate of deaths from cancer in Emery County than Salt Lake County for the indicator years 2003-2007; the latest years for which the data is complete.
In comparing cancer data with other counties in Utah, Emery County was found to be in the middle; with 13 counties having a higher cancer rate and 15 counties a lower cancer rate. Cancer deaths in Emery County are lower than in surrounding Carbon, Sevier and Sanpete counties.