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College Relay for Life

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

I was honored to participate in Relay for Life at the University of North Dakota last weekend. My son is president of his hall and started a team. They asked me to be their honorary survivor. I was able to speak at the Luminary ceremony. I was glad for the chance to let these young people know that cancer doesn't discriminate and even diseases that are thought of as "old people" cancers, can happen to anyone. I only told my personal story up through diagnosis. There were others that told about their cancer journeys and how awful hearing that you have cancer is, and how awful the treatments were, and how it still affects them. But all other the other speakers are now considered cured. I am not. And I didn't want to bring everyone down, focusing on the worst parts of cancer, but instead empower them to avoid cancer, and feel more positive, as if they can do something about it.

My three points to make for them were:
►Listen to your body and advocate for yourself - pay attention if something changes or isn't right and keep pushing until you find satisfactory reasons.
►Family history is important - if you have relatives that have died and you don't know how, push for the answers. The older generations didn't like to talk about cancer, but it is important to know and have in your medical files.
►Keep up with recommended screenings throughout your life. You can catch some situations like cervical and colorectal BEFORE they turn to cancer - actually preventing them.

The event was a lot of fun. They had several silly games. I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up with a sports complex full of people less than half my age. But that wasn't a problem - my son and I walked more laps than anyone else there! It was odd having glow sticks for the Luminary (we were indoors), but overall the event was very similar to other RFL's that I have attended. I speak next month at Get Your Rear In Gear Twin Cities, and again in July at Lakeville Relay for Life, so this was my practice for the others, although each speech will be different - tailored to the event and audience, the points I made to these young people are important and will be a part of the next two events also.

I am so blessed to have 2012 so far with no treatments so I can fully participate in these events. I hope that continues. Next week I have labs and an appointment with my oncologist. We'll see what happens then. I live month to month, just waiting for the time that I have to do something again, but I'd much rather live month to month with NO treatments, than week to week doing treatments!

Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

Again and again for what you do. Incredible!!!
Best to you with the scans coming up. I hope you never tire from hearing what an inspiration you are.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Kathryn I think that is so brave and so wise of you to focus on the positive with those young people and give them advice about staying as healthy as possible....

well done and best of luck with your other speaking....


Posts: 520
Joined: May 2011

WOW, We fellow MN Survivors are so proud of what you accomplish. But most of all we pray you continue to have Good Month to Month Check Ups.

sharpy102's picture
Posts: 371
Joined: Apr 2009

Hey All:

That is sooooooooooooooooo good to see!!! I was just participating in the Relay for Life for ALL of you this past weekend at the University of California, Davis! :) I LITERALLY did 24 hour walk, no sleep, no eat, only two bottles of water along the whole way, and only one time sit down rest for 20 minutes!! I couldn't walk for the next two days, but I had to do it. For you all, for my the memory of my Mom. And we (all the people walking) raised $85000 for cancer research!!! Woo!!! :)

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

I am so proud of you! Thank you so very much for your walk and helping to raise money for the cause.

I am sure your Mom was by your side as you walked and is proud of you too! Whether it is the sunshine or the stars, know that your Mom is looking down on you with pride at the young woman you are becoming.


Marie who loves kitties

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