Christa Scott didn’t take note of the Relay For Life event until last year when her sister-in-law, who is battling cancer, had a team registered. Then, a few months later, her mother passed away suddenly from cancer. After losing her mother, she began to connect the dots on how cancer had affected the people in her life.
“My dad died in 2007 of soft tissue sarcoma cancer, which is super rare. Two years ago, my granddad passed away and he had skin cancer. In 1997, both my grandmothers died and they had cancer, one had ovarian, one had breast cancer,” Scott said.
Scott grew up in Ontario, and moved to Prince Rupert when she married her husband. Her mother, Judy, also decided to move out west with her daughter for a new pace of life. When Scott rallied behind her sister-in-law on their team, Too Inspired to Be Tired/Sheryl’s Warriors, her mother donated $7,000 to put the team over the edge.
Due to Judy’s generosity, the team ended up raising the most funds for the Canadian Cancer Society in the Prince Rupert relay with more than $11,200.
Judy was enjoying her first three years on the North Coast. She found a job at McDonalds, where people knew her for her thoughtful service. She had just starting dating someone. “Things were looking up for her,” Scott said. But her mother had a persistent cough that she couldn’t shake, even when she was living in Ontario.
Shannon Lough/Northern View
Cancer has touched Christa Scott’s life so many times that she and her family are now actively being screened for DNA-related cancers.
In September, Judy was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The doctors also gave her a PET scan and found out she had cancer in her lymph nodes, lungs, chest and her abdominals. Scott and her husband drove Judy to the hospital in Prince George for treatment. They returned to be with their kids, and a few days later they received a call from the hospital.
“She passed away literally three weeks after being diagnosed. This year I’m doing it all for her because she didn’t even have a chance,” Scott said.
Cancer had already touched Scott’s life more than what most people will experience in their lifetime, but there’s more.
Scott has two other sisters. Recently, her younger sister was getting regular screening and blood-work done and she tested positive for having a gene in her DNA with which she’s 50 per cent more likely to develop cancer — and it is an inherited mutation.
“Now, because of that, all of us have to get screened. I’m in the middle of cancer screening and my sister is also getting cancer screened because she’s been having abdominal pains, which are very much like my mom’s,” she said.
Scott is getting tested for pancreatic, colon, breast and ovarian cancer and she’s playing the waiting game to hear the outcome. Her biggest concern is that if she tests positive for the gene then her children are going to have to be tested for the gene.
She remains optimistic and takes it all one day at a time. “We have to hope for the future that cancer will be cured like the common cold,” she said.
To her, the relay means hope.
“Whether you’re fighting it with family or you’re fighting for a friend. I think no matter what, with the Canadian Cancer Society and the relay it offers you hope knowing that they’re always going to be there to support you. It’s a glimmer of hope.”
Prince Rupert’s Relay For Life is on Saturday, May 28 and runs from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m at Prince Rupert Middle School.