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Finding out a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer is a jolt

Finding out a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer is a jolt. I know because it has happened to me.

My mom and I were supposed to leave to go on vacation the next day. We had both started to lay out clothes for our trip, and I went to visit a friend before leaving to go out of town. While I was at my friendís house, I missed a call from home. No message was left, so I didnít think much about missing the call. A few hours later I returned home.

The house was quiet, but nothing was noticeably different. I walked back to my room, saw my clothes sitting on the bed and thought of completing my packing. But for some reason, I couldnít shake the thought that something was wrong.

I walked across the hall to my parentsí room. I slowly stuck my head through the doorway. Where clothes were once laid out was an empty bedspread. And there was no suitcase in sight. My stomach dropped. In that moment, I knew my life was changing. Not only was I not going to Washington, but my mom had cancer.


Itís one scary word, often with scary outcomes.

Over the next year, though, comfort was found. Comfort was found from family, friends and the church. But least expected was the comfort and support found in the American Cancer Society.

Representatives from the American Cancer Society stopped by my momís room after her surgery. They brought a teddy bear for her to place over her incision when she rode in the car and provided a packet full of information about her cancer. Over the next months, representatives of the American Cancer Society called to check on my mom, and she found much-needed help and support in them.

Each spring the American Cancer Society sponsors Relay for Life as a fundraiser. Different organizations within the community form teams and raise funds until the night Relay for Life is held.

Ruston is holding a Relay for Life event April 28. The actual event lasts 12 hours and is held at a local track. At the event, each team sets up a booth. Cancer survivors walk the first lap around the track, and after that, all teams are asked to have one member on the track at all times.

The event is inspirational to those who attend. Cancer survivors are thankful to have overcome a terrible disease, and participants are proud to be fighting for the lives of others.

I have recently heard organizations on Techís campus consider and then turn down the opportunity to be Relay for Life team members. I know I have been personally affected by cancer, but I canít understand how others could refuse to help such a worthy organization, especially when one in every two men and one in every three women develop cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.††

Much-needed funds raised at Relay for Life contribute to funding medical discoveries, and eventually, to saving lives. It doesnít make sense to me to refuse that opportunity.


Amanda James is a junior journalism major from Ruston and serves as senior news editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to

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