Family hit by cancer now angels opposing it

Rebecca Holt: Guest columnist

The Clovis News Journal will be running columns written by Relay for Life participants this week in preparation for this weekend’s event.

Relay for Life has been a new challenging but very rewarding experience for me. I feel so blessed to be able to help others whose lives in some way or another have been touched by this terrible disease, cancer.
At the age of 8, I experienced my first encounter with cancer. My mother was only 44 years of age when she died of brain cancer. This was very devastating to our family of nine and it changed our lives forever. I was only 14 when my sister Marlene Vela, then 24, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Today she is a 27-year cancer survivor. Several years later I lost my grandmother to Leukemia. On Christmas Eve 2002, we buried a very special loved one, our greatest and most precious “hero” our father, Charlie Carlos Martinez, who lost his battle to lung cancer.
I first attended Relay for Life activities last year with my sister Marlene. She had been attending and supporting this cause for several years now. I realized then how special it would be to form a family team in memory of all the loved ones we have lost to this devastating disease, but most of all to support our sister and other survivors.
Our family team goal for this year is to raise as much money as possible so we can do away with this terrible disease forever. When we first registered our team in January, our goal was to raise $750, and to this date we have been so blessed and have raised $2,200. We are hoping to raise a lot more at our Relay for Life food and Pepsi booth. Our team has had several monetary donations by several special sponsors who feel as we do about this cause. To those people we thank you so much for caring.
Cancer never sleeps and neither will we as we participate in the walk around the luminaria track on Friday night. Relay for Life is a very positive event and is inspirational, supportive, and very emotional at times. This type of activity should remind the community that we can “all” fight against this deadly disease.
The inspiration behind our team’s name, “Charlie’s Angels,” is because our father called all his children Charlie’s Angels, and in the spirit of our love we are very proud to be his angels.
I would especially like to thank my husband Todd and my children Brittany and Dallas for being so patient and supportive during the last few months while working for the Relay.

Rebecca Holt is the captain for Relay for Life team Charlie’s Angels. Her team’s chosen survivor is her sister Marlene Vela.