Volunteers, cancer survivors and their caretakers came together Thursday to kick off the Relay for Life’s fundraising season and the lead up to May’s relay event. The annual fundraiser honors those who have survived cancer and those who support loved ones during their battle with the disease and supports the American Cancer Society in its fight to find a cure.
“Tonight we are just kicking off our event, our relay, and getting everyone ready for it,” Event Lead Jennifer Green said.
Thursday’s event allowed teams to sign up for the team charity relay that will be held at Grayson College on May 19 and run through the evening. Teams were also able to get information on the event itself and meetings schedules leading up to the relay.
For 2017’s relay, Relay for Life of Grayson County will be taking participants back in time with the theme of “A Blast from the Past” and motifs from the movie “Back to the Future.”
“We are going to be bringing back a lot of the previous activities and teams are allowed to decorate their camp as their favorite decade,” Green said.
Green said Relay for Life has personal ties for her: Her mother survived her fight with cancer more than a decade ago. She described the experience as a mixture of emotions, both positive and negative.
“I was like 17 when we found out,” she said. “It is a struggle; there are happy times and sad times, but it is all worth it when you have that survivor walk with your survivor.”
For others, the event symbolizes the ongoing fight against the disease. Lisa Cobble has walked with Relay for Life for the past three years. After finishing treatment for ovarian cancer four years ago, she said she couldn’t bring herself to get involved the first year it was in remission.
“I have two sons and that was the first thing that went through my mind,” she said, describing her experiences four years ago. “But I have a strong faith, and this is going to sound weird, but I had a feeling everything was going to be all right.”
Cobble said her disease was treatable with surgery and did not require chemotherapy or radiation. When her doctor performed surgery to remove the stage-1 tumor, he found in encapsulated and sealed within a benign tumor. This was only the second time the doctor had seen this in a patient, Cobble said.
Now, Cobble said, she is still fighting her battle; she was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. Currently, she is not undergoing treatment as doctors continue to evaluate her heath with tests every three months.
“Now with the lymphoma, it is hard for me to sit and wait for those numbers every three months,” she said.
Cobble said she got the idea to participate in the fundraiser from her mother, who participates with a team from Terrell Elementary. From there, Cobble joined a team at Golden Rule Elementary and currently walks with volunteers from Houston Elementary.
When asked why she signed up for the relay, Cobble said she does it to recognize how far she has come and for those who were not as lucky in their own battles. Cobble said she will walk for her grandmother and sister-in-law who both died from the cancer.