Editor’s Note: As a lead-up to this weekend’s Chenango County Relay for Life (July 16-17 at the Chenango County Fairgrounds), we’ve asked several participants to share their personal stories with Evening Sun readers. This is Why I Relay ...
Planning Committee Member & Captain – Snyder’s Striders Relay Teams
Since the Relay for Life Event started in Chenango County, Snyder Communications and its employees have donated both time and money, and have participated by walking and in other ways; helping to make this event a success.
I’d like to take a few minutes to explain two of the many reasons why we participate in the Relay for Life as a company. The first, of course, is because it is a great cause, and the American Cancer Society needs and deserves the funding they require to find a cure. For the past 8 years, being a part of Snyder Communications, I have been reminded over and over again of two things regarding the Relay. The first being Dick Snyder’s drive and inspiration to help the American Cancer Society be successful in our community, because he is aware that cancer has unfortunately touched all of our lives, in one way or another.
Snyder Communications has had more than one employee where cancer has personally touched them. Two of these past employees have beaten cancer, but one employee unfortunately did not. Mary Lou Christian was in Circulars Unlimited’s typesetting department, and she passed away from cancer in July of 2002. Mary Lou is remembered as a friend, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. But several of us at work will always remember Mary Lou as a petite, loving and sweet coworker. One of Mary Lou’s friends and co-workers said: “Mary Lou loved to walk, cared for her community, and was always a very positive and upbeat person no matter what the struggle in her own life was. She would be proud of us using her as the inspiration to help this cause until we have the cure she and so many others need.”
Although I never met Mary Lou, I feel I have to thank her for many things. First and foremost for just getting me involved in this awesome event. I have often wondered: “Who was the woman that inspired the poem that a co-worker wrote and displayed in our company break room after her passing?”
At the event, we have always had a luminary and a small poster displayed at our site in memory of Mary Lou. And, even though she is no longer here to participate, she is a large reason for my participation in the Relay for Life, and she is one of the reasons I will continue to do so ... for myself and for Snyder Communications.
Unfortunately, Mary Lou is not the only person we know to be diagnosed with cancer, but Snyder Communications will always walk a lap for Mary Lou, and the survivors who used to work for our company.
Cancer Survivor, Planning Committee Member & Captain – Bassett Wings of Hope Relay Team
I Relay for everyone who has cancer and for those who have lost the battle. I have had cancer twice and have won the fight. I have lost my grandmother, stepfather, and most recently I lost my beloved best friend, my mother. She fought a long, hard battle against multiple myeloma. She will be with me this Relay walking the track with me in spirit. Relay For Life has many meanings for me and is near and dear to my heart. We need to keep up the fight for everyone who is still fighting this ugly disease.
Participant – NBT Bank Relay Team
I participate in Relay For Life for many reasons. My Grandfather, Raymond W Losee II, passed away in 1988 after fighting his battle with Lymphoma for 33 months. I am the oldest of 16 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. I was lucky enough to have shared 12 years with him, however most of his grandchildren and all of his great grandchildren have only gotten to know him through pictures and memories. My aunt, Sandy Barker, was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2008. She needs to take extra precautions when out in the sun. She is always in my heart and if she ever needs me I will be there. I have many friends at work that have been impacted by various cancers, either themselves or family members. I support Relay For Life for each and everyone who has been touched by this in some form and hope that if there ever comes a time when they need my support they will reach out to me. I will always be there for them.
Co-Captain – Hospice Helping Hands Relay Team
Why I relay? Two reasons. My grandfather lived with prostrate cancer for six years. I remember being in college and then grad school for the majority of his battle. In 2007, I finished grad school and started working for Hospice of Chenango County. Months later, my grandfather received his terminal prognosis. I helped my grandmother take care of him at home with assistance of our family and the Catskill Area Hospice. I knew only a little at that time about Hospice care and what patients go through with cancer diagnoses. Now, on a daily basis I see, at the end of their journeys, the battles that cancer patients have fought and I understand what my grandfather experienced. I’m also grateful for being able to allow him to die at home, but wish that other families wouldn’t have to endure the losses that my family and our Hospice families face. I walk for my grandfather and every cancer patient I’ve taken care of at Hospice. I also walk for prevention and early detection.
Look for more “Why I Relay” stories in Friday’s Evening Sun.