Relay for Life

Finding a cure and supporting survivors is the goal of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, an event taking place in Edmond. The all-night event will be held at the University of Central Oklahoma's Plunkett Park, between 7:00 p.m. June 1 and 7:00 a.m. the next morning.

Relay for Life began in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington when a colorectal surgeon circled a university track for twenty-four hours and raised $27,000 for cancer research. Since then, the phenomenon that is Relay has spread across the United States and to several other countries.

Tammy Newberry got involved with Relay for Life through her son Isaac. What makes their story so important is that three-year-old Isaac is a cancer survivor.

Newberry remembers her son's diagnosis vividly. Two weeks after Easter in 2005, Newberry noticed a bump on Isaac's neck. By the first of May, the bump had grown to the size of a softball. The diagnosis process, from discovering the lump to undergoing the first round of chemotherapy, took about four weeks.

She explained that watching the bump grow bigger and bigger until it began affecting Isaac's breathing was hard to watch. Not being able to do anything and not knowing if the problem could be corrected-the overall feeling of uncertainty-was terrible for the family.

"That was the worst part," Newberry said.

After many doctors and tests, a CT scan finally revealed "suspicious cells." The official diagnosis was rhabdomyosarcoma, a relatively rare form of cancer in which the cells often resemble a six to twelve week old embryo.

Like many cancer patients, Isaac spent time in the hospital and underwent treatment that