Why am I participating in Relay for Life this year?

I literally have a hundred reasons or more.

I honestly do not know anyone who has not lost a loved one to cancer. Some families like my own seem to have a longer and more intimate relationship with this disease than others.

I was a child, not yet a teen, when cancer first struck our family taking my Aunt Betty, then my Aunt Ethel within a very short period of one another. These were my Mom’s sisters. They were the second and third in a line of six Crum siblings.

My Aunt Betty’s daughter, Deb was also diagnosed with breast cancer during this time and she and her Mother actually took chemo together. Thankfully Deb is still with us, but has had additional battles with the disease throughout the years.

It came back again to our family when I was in my early twenties claiming my Aunt Audrey who was the youngest of the girls. Losing “Aunt Auddie” was like losing a second Mother. I was very close to her growing up and spent a lot of school vacations with her and my cousin Kathy on Lake Hopatcong.

After I came to work at The Wayne Independent I had the pleasure of working with one of our reporters Tom DiStasio. Tommy would later be diagnosed with testicular cancer and while he was fighting the fight, his lovely wife Linda would also be diagnosed with breast cancer. We would lose them both.

A few years later I sat at my Father’s hospice bedside as pancreatic cancer took him from us. It came back a second time to claim my former Father In Law Joe, who was the Circulation Manager at The Wayne Independent for many years.

Just last year the Hessling/Miller clan lost Cousin Lori.

Days later my Mom succumbed to colon cancer after an almost two year battle of her own.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the number of distant relatives and friends diagnosed and who have successfully beaten cancer or who we also lost in the past thirty plus years. It’s staggering when you sit back and remember them all.

I’ll never forget any of them.

Like I said, I have more than a hundred reasons for participating in Relay for Life.

On May 17th I will be joining my co-workers at the Greater Lake Region Relay for Life event at the Wallenpaupack High School. This event benefits the American Cancer Society.

Our team “The Independent Eagles” will be camping overnight and take turns walking the track to raise awareness and much needed monies to find a cure for this devastating disease. Our goal is $1500. I invite you to join us by signing up at: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY14EC?pg=entry&fr_id=57960

or by going to the same website and making a donation supporting our team. Honor cancer survivors or support their caregivers with a luminaria, remember those you have personally lost or simply help us raise funds and awareness to finally end cancer forever.

Cancer runs nearly parallel with heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States.