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Ready to relay: Remembering Garth Childs

Owen Olsen and his antique fire truck Jasper carry Garth Childs fire district chief to his final resting place at the Huntington Cemetery.

By By Diane Tadehara

Whether its fall, winter, spring, or summer, hunting season, fishing season or your favorite holiday season, having even one more season to share with those you love is a reason to fight cancer. It's Relay Season in Emery County. Join us as we celebrate Seasons of Hope on July 15-16 at Emery High School.  From the opening celebration of survivors, through the fun and entertainment of the evening that leads to the touching Luminaria ceremony where we can remember seasons share with loved ones who have passed and plan for future seasons with the survivors we love, Relay For Life has something for everybody.

We relay for a cure. We relay to show our resolve. We relay so anyone who hears the words, "You have cancer" can have a season of hope. We relay because we believe in a future where no one will have to hear, "you have cancer".

If anyone in your life has been affected by cancer, Relay For Life is for you. It's not too late to join us. For information go to www.relayforlife.org/castledaleut. It's the season to fight back against cancer.Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

This celebration begins about 12 years ago when a 47 year-old, wife and mother of four was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. Her youngest, a son, was in his final year - expected to be the best - of high school. Her husband was deeply involved in the community on his local fire department, as an EMT, as a member of the County Jeep Posse, and very active in his faith. During her consequent surgery, chemo, and radiation, her husband stepped-up without question to see her through. The next five years would be years of Celebration for Alyce Childs and her family. She fought valiantly for the announcement that the cancer was gone. At her five year check-up and screening she was given a thumbs-up for a clean bill of health. Being aware of a niggling feeling, Alyce requested a pap smear be done six months later. The results returned abnormal prompting further testing. The diagnoses of stage III ovarian cancer was dropped on her. So again, Alyce's life was turned upside down with more surgery, more chemo, and more radiation. And again, Alyce's husband, Garth, was diligent in his care for her. She refers to him and his ability to take care of her along with all of his other obligations and responsibilities as, "amazing." Alyce continues to attend her screenings, but she does it without Garth.

Here we remember... just six short weeks ago another cancer story had a different ending. Garth's battle with cancer began six years ago about a year after Alyce won for the second time. He was 61 when diagnosed with prostate cancer. There was a biopsy and surgery that should have eliminated the cancer. They felt so let down and disappointed when they were told the surgery "didn't get it all." But it wasn't in Garth's nature to hold a grudge. His reaction was, "We are all human." By the time he was 62 the cancer had spread to the bone. Garth's oncologist told the Childs' that this was the "cancer from hell." It was very aggressive and rapidly growing. They were warned that it would be hard to fight. Garth started treatments that eventually included chemo, hormone replacement therapy, and five rounds of radiation that would last five years. Despite this overwhelming obstacle, Garth continued to work until he was 65.

Every position Garth held throughout his entire working career were centered on people. From the School District to Fire Chief to EMT and Chairman of the Board of Emery County Fire Chief's Association, his passion was to improve the lives of those around him. This shined through in his callings within his religion and his dedication to the acquisition of seven new fire engines for the county. His focus was honed over the last two years of his life as he helped design the fire trucks with the goal that "they would last 20 years!" The thing he hated in life was fire because it is so destructive. He had been known to say, "What fire didn't destroy, smoke would." Alyce watched as Garth took each fire personally. Always wishing he could have done more.

Doing more became a priority with his family. For two weeks during each of the last two years of his life, Garth shared a beach house in Depot Bay on the Oregon coast with his family. He simply adored his grandchildren. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather whose family all knew he wasn't afraid to do absolutely anything for them.

The only fear Garth had was that the cancer would render him incapacitated. He was at peace with his disease and aware of his mortality. He was not afraid of dying. His motto became to "do the best he could with what he had." Garth was a very humble man who loved people. He loved serving others and exchanging stories with people. "If you care about people it's what you do." Garth not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk. We remember the honor and dignity Garth lived.

We all have an opportunity to join the Fight Back. Relay for life and American Cancer Society lead the fight. Come join us in a fight against "cancers from hell." July 15, 2011 at 6 p.m. at Emery High School track.




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