Editor’s note: Each day this week we will be presenting stories by someone affected by cancer and plans to participate in the annual Relay for Life event 6 p.m. Friday at New Houk Park in Clovis:
“You have two days to fix it, because we are not going to do this in 2011.” That’s what I told my son to tell doctors late last December when my daughter-in-law, Terra, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. And they fixed it. Terra is going to be OK.
I know a little about cancer. I know I’m tired of losing people to cancer and I’ve been fighting it for a long time. I helped organize the CAFB 27th CRS Relay For Life team in 2001, the year we were rained out of Ned Houk Park. The Air Force came to our rescue, letting everybody camp out in hanger number 208. What an experience.
A few years later, I was teaching at Lockwood Elementary. Our kids sold $825 worth of paper chains at a quarter apiece. We were so proud of their effort. (I hear they’re still at it, busy selling $1 footprints this year.)
By 2004, I was co-chair of Clovis Relay For Life with my friend Kay Prater. Our first year, we had a total of seven committee members. We left office three years later with 17 on the committee. I considered that our greatest accomplishment.
I went on to chair the Relay For Life of Portales in 2009 and 2011, and became bolder in speaking about why we need to raise more money for research. It’s for the people who are so affected by this disease…people like Zachary, whom I met at Lockwood Elementary. Zach is a kind-hearted kid, a real peacemaker. He’s 17 now and has brain cancer: Medulloblastoma. I suddenly realized I never did raise enough money, because we don’t have a cure.
We have to keep going. We have to find a cure. And we can do it by supporting American Cancer Society Relay For Life.
— Submitted by Cathy Hess, a Relay for Life volunteer