Truckee’s Relay for Life: A letter about hope, survival and finding a cure for cancer |

Truckee’s Relay for Life: A letter about hope, survival and finding a cure for cancer

Submitted by Esther Walters
Special to the Sun

Nearly everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another. When you ask cancer survivors or their caregivers what helped them get through grueling treatment or even the loss of a loved one, most can answer in one word: Hope.

While in treatment, cancer patients may hope for strength during treatment or for a lifesaving cure. When faced with the loss of a loved one, caregivers, family members and friends search for hope others won’t face the same cancer or they can find emotional healing as they grieve.

More than three million people in the United States from 5,000 communities have found hope by participating in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Often, newly diagnosed patients or caregivers of someone recently lost to cancer are invited to a Relay For Life event not knowing what to expect. Many say from the moment they set foot on a Relay track, they discover a community of people who know what they’ve been through. It’s that sympathy and support that brings the hope needed to move toward healing.

I was one of those people. When I first lost my mother to ovarian cancer, I struggled to cope with overwhelming grief. I was sure no one else could understand my loss and was searching for ways to enjoy life without her.

At the Relay For Life of Hopetown, I saw other families gathered around luminaria bags that illuminated the track. In them, I saw people who had found a way to find hope again. They found that hope by uniting with others to fight back against a disease that had brought so much pain.

Fighting back against cancer by participating in Relay For Life has helped me to carry on in my mother’s name. Doing something tangible makes me feel like I can be the one to inspire hope for someone else along their own journey with cancer.

After all, all it really takes is one person. It was one man in Tacoma, Wash. back in 1985 who had seen enough suffering and wanted to make a statement about the need for additional fundraising for cancer research and services.

That man, Dr. Gordy Klatt, ran and walked 83 miles that night, but he also started a worldwide movement to end cancer known as the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

I encourage anyone who has been touched by cancer and needs to find hope or wants to bring hope to others to participate in and#8220;Show Us Your HOPEand#8221; in recognition of 25 years of progress in the fight against this disease. Join me on July 18-19 at Truckee High School Track and Field (behind Truckee Fire Department on Donner Pass Road) as we CELEBRATE the lives of people who have battled cancer; REMEMBER loved ones lost to this horrible disease; FIGHT BACK and stand united to eliminate cancer.


Esther Walters

Online Chair

Luminaria Chair

Truckee Relay for Life

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