Relay For Life

 

Written by Teddy Burch in the May 2008 Issue

Cancer does not stop for nighttime—a simple expression about the complex world of cancer. It is also the inspiration behind Edmond’s Relay for Life.

Tammy Padgett, cancer survivor and Relay for Life participant puts it like this, “I don’t know that I would be here if it weren’t for people before me, raising money and awareness,” she said. “All of the research and development for cancer treatments take a tremendous amount of money, and I feel that with all that we are raising, we are affecting others beyond ourselves.”

The Relay begins as the sun is setting, symbolizing the time that the person has been diagnosed. For some, the days began to grow darker and this represents the cancer patient’s state of mind as they may feel that their life could be coming to an end.

As the evening continues on, much like the emotions of any cancer patient, it gets colder and darker, yet when the sun begins to rise, a new light begins to burn. The rising of the sun represents the end of cancer treatments, giving new life to the survivor.

Padgett, who is now six years cancer free, remembers very clearly the day she was diagnosed. “Everything froze for a moment. My first thoughts were, ‘how much time do I have left?’ When the shock began to wear off, I went into fight mode.”

Through 12 months of chemotherapy and radiation, Padgett won the fight against cancer. She decided long ago she would be a voice in cancer treatment development. “I am living proof that research and medicines work.”

She looks forward to the start of the Relay. The first lap around the UCO campus is for all the cancer survivors taking part in the event. The second lap is for the survivors and all of their caregivers during the treatment process. This is not limited to those in the medical field but is open to all friends and family of the survivors.

“Some of the biggest obstacles during my treatments were just getting to and from the clinic. My friends really stepped up and provided the care needed to get through the ordeal.” Padgett said. “Cancer doesn’t just affect the person who has it. It affects all of your friends and family as well. They were all my caregivers.”

According to the American Cancer Society, more than two million volunteers carry out the Society’s mission of eliminating cancer and improving quality of life for those individuals facing the disease. Finding cancer in the earliest stage possible gives the patient the greatest chance of survival. For this reason, the Society seeks to provide the public and health care professionals with the latest cancer resources to help them make informed decisions.

Log onto http://events.cancer.org/rfledmondok for information about joining or forming your Relay for Life team.

“Through all of the process of cancer, I’ve learned that there is something that I can do. Cancer is a big, scary thing, but this is something all of us can do to fight back.”

The event, which is to be held May 30 at 7 p.m., and continues through 7 a.m., May 31, will take place at Plunkett Park on the UCO campus.

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