Osoyoos cancer survivor explains why Relay for Life means so much to her

By on May 7, 2014

The first time I felt the impact of cancer was over 38 years ago when my 16 year old cousin was diagnosed with it.

She went through a series of surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments and was finally declared “in remission and then cancer-free.”

Since then, she has become the mother of four boys, grandmother to three and is raising prize-winning bulldogs, one of which starred in a Canadian-made movie in 2010.

She was one of the lucky ones.

Not everyone who hears that they have cancer will survive it.

Such was the case back in 1998 when our 20 year old daughter, Dayna, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

She had surgery, then radiation and chemotherapy, but she didn’t make it.

She died just nine days after her 21st birthday in 1999.

As devastating as this was, she remained upbeat until the end and we never gave up hope that there would be a miracle and she would live to fall in love, get married and have children of her own.

Then in 2009, I got the diagnosis that I had cancer. I went through surgery, weeks of radiation and months of chemotherapy.

Thankfully my following checkups have shown no sign of the cancer reappearing, but it is always stressful every time I have to go for my quarterly doctor’s visit to find out the results of my blood tests.

Those of you who have gone through a similar experience can empathize.

When the Canadian Cancer Society organized the the Relay for Life to Osoyoosi n 2005, me and members of my family were not able to participate as we had another commitment.

But in the years following, we have always had a team. Our team is aptly named ‘Dayna’s Dozen’, and this will be our ninth-consecutive year of participating in the Relay for Life.

Our team is comprised of family, including my brother Gary, who comes out from Cochrane, Alberta, and close friends who had a special connection to Dayna.

If you are a cancer survivor, please join Dayna’s Dozen and dozens of other supporters and survivors at the Osoyoos Relay for Life on June 7, 2014 at the Osoyoos Elementary south field.

There will be, as always, a Survivors’ Lap starting at noon.

You can also join us for some refreshments after. You can register for free by filling out a form you can pick up at the Osoyoos Times office (the hub for all Relay related forms) or go on-line at www.relayforlife.ca.

If you are not a survivor but would like to join the fight there are many ways you can become involved:

1: Create your own Relay for Life team or join one of the existing teams that are looking for more members. You can find out more information and register at www.relayforlife.ca .

2: Volunteer either for the day of the event or for the committee. If you would like to do either you can contact Chantel @ 250-490-9681.

3: Buy a luminary bag in memory of someone who died from cancer or in support of someone battling cancer. Again you can do this online at www.relayforlife.ca or you can buy a bag at the Osoyoos Times office or on the event day.

4: Come and enjoy the fun and spirit of the relay. There will be games for the kids and live entertainment most of the day at the Osoyoos Elementary field. The fun starts at noon and goes until midnight.

Members of Dayna’s Dozen are looking forward to seeing you at the Relay for Life.

This column was provided by longtime Osoyoos resident Darlene Hillson.

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