Commonwealth Journal

News Live

June 21, 2014

Hope reflected in Pulaski Relay for Life

Somerset —

Jeri English was diagnosed with breast cancer in September. It was found to be in stage III – in which the cancer spread beyond the immediate area of the tumor before it was caught – and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment in an effort to beat the disease.
“But I'm going to be fine,” she said, confidently.
She has good reason for that confidence.
English's friend, Gayle Allen, a 12-year breast cancer survivor, has been beside her the entire journey.
“That's a huge difference, having someone there who has gone through it,” English said.
Allen was there for English on Friday as well, as she walked her first survivors' lap around the Pulaski County High School track at the 2014 American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The women linked hands and held each other closely as they made a lap that can often be an overwhelming one for those battling cancer.
“I knew the survivor lap would be (emotional),” said English. “I've been to a relay before … this is totally different.”
More than 80 teams made up of hundreds of individuals gathered Friday to celebrate those who have beaten the disease and those who are currently fighting their battle. Everywhere one looked, there were either survivors or those who have had loved ones affected by the disease.
“When I was diagnosed in November, it was a complete shock,” said Mitzi Denney, who also walked her first survivors' lap on Friday. “And then everything moved really fast from there.
“ … I didn't have much time to think about it,” she added. “I just …jumped right in and I'm taking it one step at a time.”
Every year, the Relay for Life serves as a forum for reflection for those affected by cancer. The event is the flagship fundraising activity for the American Cancer Society, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly for research into finding a cure to a disease that claimed an estimated 580,000 people last year alone, according to the ACS. Around 25,000 people were diagnosed last year in Kentucky, according to the ACS.

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