Betty Weir of the CityWest Tumornators knows perhaps better than any the impact people participating in the Relay for Life have on those who are battling cancer.
“I just flew back from Vancouver on Wednesday night because my son was down there for surgery. The type of cancer he is dealing with, the diagnosis was the bad part. Since that all the measures they have taken and everything they have done has worked. It is going great for him … all of those things are there and going great because of the fundraising other people have done to increase research and development and for staff training. It is very important and it is because of the fundraising that has been done in the past,” she said, noting the success is one shared by many whose loved ones have been diagnosed.
“The surgeon said he has done four surgeries for this type of cancer and in all of them the biopsy of the tumour came back negative. It shows the research and chemo mixture they have developed is right on the money, it’s working, and it wasn’t there 10 years ago. If it weren’t for people who do this type of fundraising, where would we be? I know it’s making strides.”
But Betty isn’t the only Tumornator who has been affected by cancer. They all have a story to tell — some with happy endings but others without.
“My husband is a cancer survivor, I lost my dad six years ago to cancer and so it is personal for me,” said Andrea Bosman.
“My mother is a cancer survivor, she had leukemia and had to have bone marrow transplant,” added Natasha Dudoward.
For this tight-knit group of co-workers, family extends beyond flesh and bone.
“We also have three people on staff today who are currently battling cancer and we lost a CityWest family member in Terrace last year, so it’s really close to us. We live it and breath it every day,” said Bosman.
“We have 15 on the team with 13 doing the walk and two cancer survivors who will be participating in the Survivor Lap,” added Dudoward.
Though only a portion of the CityWest staff will be taking to the field on Saturday, the entire CityWest family has come together to support their brothers and sisters.
“Pretty much all CityWest staff has been contributing through fundraising and supporting in different ways. They have all been really good,” said Anna Fehr, noting the team has raised approximately $2,500 so far.
With strong support from coworkers and concrete proof that the efforts of those involved in the Relay for Life are having an impact, the Tumornators are hoping to see as many people as possible out at the event on Saturday.
“We simply can’t stop and need to hope that one day we will find a cure,” said Fehr.
“That is the message: We can’t just stop and we need to make people aware,” added Bosman.
The Prince Rupert 2015 Relay for Life will take place on Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Prince Rupert Middle School.