Registration is currently ongoing for Cancer Survivors, their Caregivers, and all participants for the annual overnight fund-raiser for the ACS, which will be held 7 p.m. Fri., April 25 to 7 a.m. Sat., April 26 at the Ballfields at Craig Ranch.
As of March 12 more than 100 Cancer Survivors had registered to participate in the Relay For Life of McKinney event, which is presented by Texas Oncology- McKinney, where they will receive a medal, get a complimentary meal and gift bags, and will be cheered on by thousands of people in the Survivor Lap at Relay. Caregivers of Cancer Survivors may also register and walk in the Caregiver Lap, which will immediately follow the Survivor Lap at the Relay For Life event.
Mike Lascola is a current esophageal cancer patient who is treated at Texas Oncology- McKinney, the title sponsor of this year’s Relay For Life of McKinney.
Lascola is the director of operations for the la Madeleine Country French Café in McKinney, and six other la Madeleine cafes in the Dallas and Fort Worth area, and in Oklahoma, and is helping to ensure that Cancer Survivors and their Caregivers are treated well at this year’s Survivor Dinner. The McKinney la Madeleine is donating the Survivor Dinner, which is held only for registered Relay For Life of McKinney Cancer Survivors. Lascola will speak at the dinner about the importance of Caregivers as they, like his Caregiver, his partner for the last eight-and-a-half years, go through the journey of treatment with them.
“What I get out of the entire Relay For Life experience is that people need help because they just have to trust their Caregiver. The cost of the medicine is just ridiculous and by volunteering with Relay For Life, I’m helping to raise money to help offset the high cost of cancer medication,” Lascola said.
In addition to medical treatment, Lascola also wholeheartedly believes in cancer patients maintaining a positive attitude towards fighting the disease. “You have to get yourself to accept mentally that just because you’ve been diagnosed with cancer doesn’t mean that it’s a death sentence,” Lascola said. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and has been in remission since January of this year. He is not giving up on fighting cancer, he said. “You have to trust your doctor and ask question, and those people who have your back. I love the staff at Texas Oncology-McKinney because they are so great. They’re instantly friendly with everyone and I just adore everyone there,” Lascola added.
He, like more than 100 other registered Cancer Survivors, is going to walk in the annual Survivor Lap and share with the others in the celebration of life and winning the fight while being celebrated and cheered on by cheerleaders, drill team members, family, friends, and co-workers, and thousands of strangers at the 2014 Relay For Life of McKinney.
Carol Ann of McKinney is a breast Cancer Survivor and she has been cancer free for 34 years and she will be cancer free for 35 year now in June! She is a registered Cancer Survivor with the 2014 Relay For Life of McKinney and is volunteering her time on the Relay For Life of McKinney to help with survivors this year. She has participated as a survivor and walked in Relay For Life events in the past.
“I’ve been blessed with my fight so far. I think it’s important that we build each other up because that’s what gets you through your dark days,” Carol Ann said about why she wanted to volunteer on the committee this year. “I want to do something that gives a six month or six year survivor hope and to help keep peoples’ attitudes uplifted during the fight.”
She is familiar with the ruthlessness of cancer as it has affected many of her family members. Her sister passed away from adrenal gland cancer 15 months ago, and she lost her dad to colon and liver cancer at age 51. She was the first person in her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and both of her grandmothers also had cancer. Two of her aunts were also diagnosed with breast cancer after Carol Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Cancer is a ruthless disease. It has no respect for age and to see young children and toddlers who are fighting the disease is heartbreaking,” she said.
Jamie Pressnall, who is the 2014 Relay For Life of McKinney Survivor Committee Chairperson, said Relay For Life is the time to honor Cancer Survivors and their Caregivers. She was a Caregiver for her mother who passed away from cancer.
“Survivors are Relay! Though it is only one night, Relay For Life is an ongoing effort that does not sleep because cancer never sleeps. The role as a Caregiver is to encourage, support and remain a cancer patients ‘go-to’ person. As a Caregiver myself, the challenge is emotional, heart-warming, and so deeply crucial to the outcome of a survivor’s physical and mental well-being. Your job is to care, which to any individual who has, or had cancer knows you are their lifeline,” Pressnall said. “Relay For Life is my heart, passion and soul. When I see the survivors walk their Survivor Lap, it is an overwhelming feeling that nothing can replace.”
If you’re a Cancer Survivor or Caregiver, you may register by simply visiting http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY14PL?pg=entry&fr_id=61268.
Story submitted by Brandi Price