Some of the volunteers who took part in this year’s Relay for Life fundraiser in San Benito County shared their experiences with San Benito Live through the local Relay for Life chapter. The event raised more than $110,000 this past year for the American Cancer Society. The following are those testimonials from local participants:
By Fred Sanchez:
My journey with cancer awareness began several years ago as a young man when I experienced watching my uncle and cousin, both very young men succumb to the effects of cancer. They were both very strong men and led healthy lifestyles. In the 1970s there was very little that could be done to stop this deadly disease. Over the years, through the efforts of U. S. government and private sponsored research such as the American Cancer Society the chances of beating cancer have increased exponentially since that time. My own personal battle with cancer began in 2007. I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 51.
During a routine colonoscopy cancerous cells were discovered in my colon. It was a very sobering experience for me and it made me recall the absolute horror of watching cancer destroy my uncle and cousin. I was fortunate to have a medical staff that had so many more tools (medication, surgical equipment, staff etc.) that had been developed over the years through research provided by governmental and private research organizations. I was provided with research statistical data and analysis that enabled me to make sound decisions with my oncologist and surgical staff to make the best choices for my specific medical case. I was fortunate enough to go through a surgical procedure without any chemo or radiation therapy and have the cancer removed from my body. A genetic study was also performed on cells from my body to determine the likeliness of a cancer recurrence.
I consider myself very lucky to be living in an age where advanced research has made it possible to hear so many stories of people battling and recovering from cancer diagnosed diseases. Unfortunately, there are far too many people across the globe losing their personal battles with cancer. This disease is indiscriminate with regard to race, gender, age, nationality or any other discriminator one would choose.
I feel strongly as a survivor that I make a personal and proactive commitment to supporting and promoting cancer research within the government and private research organizations such as the ACS. This commitment has led me to participate in supporting and participating in the annual Relay for Life (RFL) event held in my local community. The RFL provides a public forum to share awareness of the ongoing battle that we as a human race must face and overcome together. The RFL enables us as a community to provide much-needed financial resources to the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to the continued research and goal of eradicating the deadly disease of cancer. Please join me in making your contribution to help us defeat cancer.
A grateful survivor,
By Robbie Russell:
What it means to me to be involved in Relay:
In one word “rewarding”. It is a way to acknowledge and support those that have battled and lost, are in the middle of their fight for life and those that have survived their war against Cancer. All of our lives have been touched by Cancer in one way or another and it is important to continue to raise money for research and treatment so that one day a future generation will be able to ask the question “What is cancer?”. Since I do not possess the financial freedom to fund my own research, it important to me to give of myself. It takes a village and I am proud to be part of the San Benito Relay Village.
Why is Relay important and why should the community join us?
I think a lot of the community are under the impression that when a family member or a friend is affected by Cancer that they are in it alone. I believe by participating in Relay and coming out to our event, the community has an opportunity to honor those they have lost, gather resources available to help those that battle, offer support by their attendance and their contributions to those that continue to fight. As we watch our children and grandchildren grow up in this community, it is important to build a foundation of “giving back”. We have a great group of people that plan and execute this event to make it educational, fun, emotional and beneficial to all. We keep our event local so that everyone can attend for as long as they like. The “team” spirit is awesome to experience firsthand.
Relay For Life gives me an opportunity to spread awareness about the harsh truths of cancer in hopes that preventative care and research for a cure would be an everyday priority. It’s also a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate all of the lives that have been rocked by cancer.