Editor’s Note: As a lead-up to this weekend’s Chenango County Relay for Life (July 20-21 at the Chenango County Fairgrounds), we’ve asked several participants to share their personal stories with Evening Sun readers. This is Why I Relay ...
I sit here thinking of the reason I am participating in the Relay For Life. At first, I think about listing the names of the family members and the friends that lost their fight to cancer or all the family and friends that are in their fight against cancer right now, and I realize that me, just one person, knows over 65 people I could list. Then I think about the ones that I pass each day and we do niceties of how are you each day knowing that one of them or even myself could be the next one to hear the news of yet another fight for survival - it breaks my heart. We are all in the same boat, somehow connected, we are all victims in one way or another. Sometimes it seems so unfair to the people fighting the battle of their lives and the ones feeling helpless as they see their loved ones suffer. I realize that we are all family and even if we don’t have all the answers to win this fight, we need to be united and support each other through this time and continue our prayers for a cure. I am hear to support everyone. As I see it, we are all one.
I am a member of the Nancy’s Corner team and I like to help people - that is why I joined this team so we can put an end to this deadly disease!
I have had to say good-bye too many family, friends and neighbors who have lost their battle and if we can make a difference, which I know we can, to stop this awful curse than we are going to do it with all our might!
My father Dutch Osowski is a Cancer Survivor and is one of the lucky ones, as he beat it and he is a true testament that it can be done as he is still going strong at 79 - coaching youth baseball!
So this year I walk with my teammates as we remember Nancy, Deb and Kathy from our team and all the rest of our family members, friends and neighbors who are no longer with us but looking down on us smiling as we celebrate their lives and putting a stop to this deadly disease!
My journey with Relay for Life actually started years ago, when I walked in a walk called Making Strides against Cancer that was held in Binghamton. I walked in that, the first year it was held.
I missed the next year, but then they stopped doing it.
Then on Valentine’s Day in 2006 after having my very first mammogram I was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer. A co-worker of mine who is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor was the captain of the company’s Relay for Life team, so she talked me into attending the relay in Cooperstown. She said she wanted me there either walking or riding in a wheel chair because I was just starting my breast cancer journey and did not know at what shape I was going to be at, when the Relay came around.
So that year I actually walked in the Relay! My mother who had skin cancer also joined me at the Relay. That same year my aunt was diagnosed with cancer!
The following year, I again attended the Relay, but this time in Oneonta.
In 2008, I decided to become a captain and start my own team. My team attended the Oneonta walk.
In 2009, I attended the Oneonta Relay but was only able to attended the survivor dinner and walk the survivor lap, because I had total knee replacement surgery that year.
In 2010, I started relaying in Norwich because I wanted to be closer to home for my mother who had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My mother and I attended the survivor dinner and then I pushed my mother around the survivor lap that year.
Early in 2011, we lost my mom to cancer. But I attended the Relay in Norwich again.
During these many years of doing the Relay’s my uncle was diagnosed with prostate cancer, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer; my neighbor was diagnosed with prostate cancer, my cousins wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, my boyfriend’s mother and father had passed away from cancer and my boyfriend’s sister was diagnosed with cancer.
Years before this, I had also lost my grandfathers on both sides of my family to cancer and my grandmother on my father’s side also had cancer.
This year I will once again be attending the Relay to honor my loved ones who are still alive and to honor the memory of the ones who I have lost!
I also walk as a survivor to show others who are battling cancer of any kind that you can beat it and come out on the other side!
I Relay because I refuse to sit back and watch a lifeless entity consume the delicacy, the kindness, and decency of human life. I refuse to watch family, friends, and neighbors suffer at the expense of a cruel and heartless disease. We who have explored the depths of the oceans and the vastness of space, we who have classified the chemical elements and built skyscrapers can surely tackle this illness. I walk to support medical research. I walk to fight back. Too many people close to my family and I have lost their vigorous battle as cancer steals precious breaths of air from lungs and tears the vitality from a young and once energetic child. Cancer is not on the guest list and was never invited to this celebration of life. Let us make strides to eradicate it once and for all. By joining with survivors, caregivers, supporters, family, and friends, we can take a stand and rally support. This July, I will walk in memory of my two very special aunts who lost their long battle with lung cancer this past April. I will walk in memory of a special neighbor and family friend. I will walk to honor the strength a special friend has exhibited in her journey of incredible recuperation. I will walk to raise awareness. I will celebrate those who are still with us, remember and honor the beautiful legacies of those who have passed, and most importantly, I will fight back against cancer.