The CityWest Tumornators are 23 members strong with (top left to right) Andrea Bosman

The CityWest Tumornators are 23 members strong with (top left to right) Andrea Bosman

The Tumornators find strength in numbers

Last year’s relay was intense for the team who wore purple, the colour for pancreatic cancer.

This is the first story in a series by the Northern View on those affected by cancer and who are participating in the Relay For Life walk on May 28. To add your story, email newsroom@thenorthernview.com

When the CityWest Tumornators showed up at the Relay For Life event in 2015 they received news that their co-worker, Lucy Zroback, had succumbed to cancer that day.

“To say emotional, wow. You’re raising money to try to stop the disease from doing what it had done that morning,” Andrea Bosman said wearing her team T-shirt in black with tiny cancer ribbons of every colour across the chest.

“Nobody fights alone” is written on the front of the shirt, a fitting mantra for a team that continues to grow. Right now there are 23 members.

Last year’s relay was intense for the team. Zroback’s husband and daughters came to the event. The team wore purple, the colour for pancreatic cancer.

“There’s people who haven’t been diagnosed yet and the money that we raise could help that person that doesn’t know they have cancer yet,” Bosman said.

Bosman lost her father to lung cancer and her husband is a throat cancer survivor. Her teammate, Betti Weir, lost a brother-in-law and a father-in-law to cancer, and her youngest son was diagnosed with testicular cancer before his 20th birthday.

“Because of the fundraising that has been done over the years and the advancement in the treatments he can sit there today, and at this point in his life he is still cancer free,” Weir said.

Her husband is doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer as another fundraising endeavour. Steve is riding from Vancouver to Seattle with the Prince Rupert team over two days.

It wasn’t an easy battle for their son. He went given the VIP cocktail for his chemotherapy treatment. From September until November their son travelled to Vancouver to do a five day treatment and he had two surgeries to remove tumours on his lungs.

CityWest has had its fair share of bad luck. Two employees fought the battle and lost. There are three survivors on staff and one co-worker who has terminal cancer but is managing through chemotherapy.

Education and advancement in fighting the disease is working, a reason why the team is in its third year for the relay.

A screening program saved one co-worker who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the early stages. She had a small surgery and didn’t need to do chemotherapy or radiation.

“For every sad story there are successes that are a result of the fundraising done in the past and the work that the organization does to educate and prevent,” Weir said.

The CityWest Tumornators goal this year is to raise $6,500 and top the $6,290 they raised last year. They have already held a couple bake sales and on April 30 they will host a loonie auction and karaoke night.