In the Relay until there’s a cure

Published 8:46 pm Friday, March 6, 2009

This year I am co-chairing for the Isle of Wight/Surry Relay for Life Event that will be held at Smithfield High School on May 29-30. I am looking forward to everyone’s involvement in this worthwhile cause. Individuals may either create a team, give a donation or just volunteer on the day of the event.

The Relay is a fun-filled activity with celebrations for cancer survivors, encouragement for those battling cancer, memories of those who have passed away and hope that we will one day find a cure.

I have first-hand experience dealing with the devastation of cancer, and I know how important it is to have a support system and, perhaps even more important, I know the need for hope. Please let me take a moment to share my story with you.

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My husband’s mother died from breast cancer, his aunt suffered with leukemia, and his grandmother battled breast cancer and is a survivor. My mother and my uncle both died of lung cancer. My father died of colon cancer; his sister succumbed to brain cancer.

My grandmother also had leukemia and my great-aunt had breast cancer. Also, my great-grandmother had melanoma. Cancer does not discriminate, and nearly everyone in my family has been touched by it, but it became quite personal when I became the patient.

On Oct 17, 2003, I heard the words “Mrs. Cowan, it is cancer.” I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. My battle scar is on my leg. I am one of the lucky ones, and I try to repay my thanks for my recovery by being involved with the Relay for Life. I hope to be part of the cure so that there may be many more “lucky ones.”

For the last 16 years I have enthusiastically been part of a Relay for Life team, and I will continue with these efforts until one day there is a cure. Because of family history I want to work to find a cure so that my children will never hear the words, “You have cancer.”

I feel that the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is the vehicle that will bring about the cure. It will also provide services, education and hope 24 hours a day in the meantime.

The ACS Web site is, and the toll-free number is 1-800-ACS-2345.

Please support this worthy cause if asked. It is true that cancer touches so many lives, but nothing touches a life more than a giving heart.

For more information on Isle of Wight/Surry Relay For Life, visit or call 255-0058