Relay for Life – Heroes of Hope
A highly visible symbol of a personal victory over cancer, the Relay For Life Heroes of Hope and their profiles of courage, encourage support and participation in the programs of each international cancer organization.
More than simply inspiring us, cancer survivors and caregivers reaffirm the missions of our organizations and reinforce, in a personal way, the need for all of us to continue to fight back against cancer.
The Relay For Life Heroes of Hope survivorship initiative involves the selection of Heroes of Hope from Global Relay For Life participating countries.
The initiative has three primary goals:
• To give each Global Relay For Life member country an opportunity to recognize one or more cancer survivors who have impacted their
• To give one or more cancer survivors the opportunity to serve as a voice
for their country’s cancer organization;
• To encourage other cancer survivors to actively share their own cancer
story and give hope to others.
Following is just one of the personal stories of an extraordinary cancer survivor who represents courageous voices of HOPE. In telling her story, she will encourage others to support their cancer organization and to get involved in Relay For Life events. As ambassadors of their country’s cancer organization, these Heroes of Hope will inspire other survivors and expand the whole world of cancer survivorship.
Lori was a happy carefree college student when, a few days after her 20th birthday, her world was turned upside down. After developing a high fever, and initially concluding it was mononucleosis, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was told she might live another two years, but there was no evidence that long-term survival was possible.
She was 20 years old, and had no hope. She dropped out of school and went home to box up her things, so that her parents would not have to take on that painful task when she died. Her goal became to live long enough to celebrate her 22nd birthday. She has now been cancer-free for more than 34 years!
Five years after her diagnosis and several experimental treatments, her doctors declared her cancerfree. Once her body began looking and feeling normal again, Lori just wanted her life to look and feel normal, too. She finished college, went on to earn a master’s degree, fell in love, got married and had three sons. She rarely thought about cancer during those years, except when she would hear someone describing a minor inconvenience as though their life was about to end. Having cancer had truly taught her that life is too short to ever sweat the small stuff.
Then one day, 20 years after conquering the disease, she found out about a Relay For Life event held in her town. She went to an informational meeting where she heard a cancer survivor speak about the event. From that moment on, Lori has completely immersed herself in the Relay For Life movement and as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society. She still serves as a team captain at her local Relay event, and her team is often a top fundraiser. She shares her passion for the event with others, and has also begun advocating against the disease that caused her and her family so much suffering.
Lori now knows that her story provides a source of hope to others who are going through their own cancer journey. She is seen as a resource in her community for anyone diagnosed, and she often spends time with newly diagnosed patients or their caregivers to share her story and help them find the courage they will need to keep fighting the disease. She dreams of a cancer-free world and hopes that someday, when she has grandchildren, they will only know about cancer from their history books.
Relay for Life of Granite Falls will be held on July 19 (noon) to July 20 (10:00 a.m.), 2014 at Hi Jewell Field at the Middle School.
Sadly, evidence tells us it doesn’t always happen to other people — and even if it’s not our own personal experience, cancer affects all of us. Do you have a story you’d like to share. Articles can be submitted to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.