Relay support appreciated in cancer fight

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By Phyllis Banta


Being thankful is not always an easy thing to do.

I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer on Nov. 27, 2013 — the day before Thanksgiving — a day set aside to be thankful.  

For anyone that has ever received such a diagnosis, thankfulness is not the first thought in your mind. 

Nor was it mine, but after coming out on the other side of this experience it gave me a chance to reflect and be thankful. Sometimes when you go through adverse times in your life it gives you an opportunity to stop and really recognize what you have to be thankful for.

I am thankful to have a husband that meant every word when he said “we are in this fight together” after my diagnosis. Every doctor appointment, 12 days in the hospital and 30 days of radiation, he was there for them all and he is still here taking excellent care of me. 

I am thankful for a wonderful daughter-in-law and for my two remarkable sons, they without even realizing it, give me a reason to fight this battle.

I am thankful for a special friend who unselfishly gave her time to be with me whenever I needed her and continues to be at my house at least twice every week to help with ongoing medical issues. She even shaved my hair when I came to that point in my treatments and is willing to shave her head in support of me and to raise money for Relay.

I am thankful to have a pastor and church family that continually prayed for me, and a Sunday School class that never missed a week in sending me an encouraging card, text or phone call.

I am thankful for a very special boss and co-workers that jumped in without hesitation to cover my work load for an extended amount of time and not once complained about it.  

I am thankful for a brother and my sisters-in-law that were always there cooking, cleaning and running errands for me.

I am thankful for a niece that always knew exactly when I needed a visit from my great niece and nephew to cheer me up when I was feeling down.

I am thankful for neighbors that are like family to me. Always offering anything they could to help out in any way.

I am thankful that I live in a community where Relay for Life is supported by so many people. Henry County began participating in Relay in 1995. The first year the county raised $9,000. This year’s goal is $85,000. 

Over the past 18 years, Henry County Relay for Life has raised over one million dollars in the fight against cancer, helping the American Cancer Society fund valuable research and outreach programs. 

I am thankful for the research that has been done in recent years to provide me with treatments for the particular form of cancer I had. 

Only 10 years ago when diagnosed with this type of cancer a person would receive the news and undergo surgery to have a colostomy. Thankfully, now there are other options and this is made possible from money raised from events like Relay for Life. 

So regardless of the reason you attend Relay or donate money, just remember that it really does touch lives. The money donated or the time you spend helping out with fundraisers does make a difference in someone’s life. It did in mine.

So come out this Friday night to Henry County High School for Relay for Life at 7 p.m. and support the continued efforts to fight this battle. 

You will be thankful you did.