Meet Mary Ellen Costa | Cancer patient, survivor and Relay for Life team captain |

Meet Mary Ellen Costa | Cancer patient, survivor and Relay for Life team captain

Courtesy photoMary Ellen Costa, a courageous cancer survivor is surrounded by her daughters.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; In 2003, Mary Ellen Costa was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She admits to having the normal range of emotions: Denial, anger, fear, and all else that comes with that diagnosis. She says the fear was for herself and what lay ahead, but more for her husband and their three young daughters, and how as a family they would deal with this. She decided to fight as hard as she could and she has fought with courage.

In the last nine years she has had three surgeries and multiple chemo and radiation treatments. Costa marches forward, enjoying every day and every event. When she meets other survivors she tells them and#8220;cancer is a tough club to join, but there are a lot of great people in it.and#8221; She finds strength from her faith, her family and her friends. And she is so much more that just a survivor. Costa is a wife, a mother, a daughter, and an inspiration to all who know her.

When asked why she Relays, she replied, and#8220;For two reasons. My hope is that there will be more and more cures for cancers, and that in the future it will be eradicated. Money raised through the Relay and The American Cancer Society support patient programs and education, and especially research. And, there is something special about a Relay event. There is a feeling of community, of bonding with the other participants, and it is inspirational. It gives me a feeling of personal gratification.and#8221;

Costa encourages everyone, patients, survivors, family, and friends to come join some or all of the day. Her team name The Lucky Ones is taken from a letter of encouragement written to Lance Armstrong while he was fighting his battle.

Mary Ellen has a spirit that is almost impossible to put into the written word. Although I wish that I had met her through a different situation, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to know her and to be inspired by her dignity and courage.

Information about the Relay of Life, July 14-15, Truckee High School track, can be found at

This event is the American Cancer Societyand#8217;s largest fundraiser. This year celebrates the 27th anniversary of Relay For Life, and it will be Truckee-Tahoeand#8217;s sixth year to take part in the fundraising event.

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