SIDNEY — Relay for Life of Shelby County hosted its kickoff event, Thursday, Jan. 18, at Connection Point Church of God.
The theme of the event was “Super Heroes Assemble!” with a tagline of, “With our powers combined, we will conquer cancer one lap at a time.”
The next Relay for Life of Shelby County event, which will be called “For the Love of Relay,” will take place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Feb. 10, at the Sidney Moose Lodge. Tickets for the event are $15 per person and $25 per couple. To purchase tickets, contact Deb Kaufman, at 937-726-3647, or Patty Wood, at 937-489-8867.
RFL Leads and Team Ambassadors Deb Kaufman and Patty Wood were moderators for Thursday’s gathering and kicked off the evening with recognition of the success of last year’s teams, as well as appreciation for sponsors.
The Shelby County Relay for Life of 2017 raised a total of $168,371, far surpassing its goal of $150,000.
The top 10 teams of 2017 and their fundraising totals are as follows:
• 10th: Team PECA – $5,050
• Ninth: Peerless Friends/Family – $5,183
• Eighth: IAC – $5,653
• Seventh: Sidney First UMC – $5,841
• Sixth: HUGS of St. Jacob – $7,322
• Fifth: Wilson Health – $8,051
• Fourth: Connection Point Church – $8,358
• Third: Ferguson Construction – $11,955
• Second: A Team – $14,457
• First: Team Airstream – $42,842
Kaufman and Wood also went into detail about some of the specific services that the fundraising dollars were able to provide for cancer patients, including free, 24-hour information via phone, email and online chat for 10 people; three years of follow-up for eight participants enrolled in the American Cancer Society’s Prevention Study-3 program; 57 rides to and from cancer treatment; and 94 trained patient navigators to aid those diagnosed with cancer in understanding their diagnoses and getting the help they need.
A 50/50 raffle was also introduced, Thursday. Tickets can be earned at every RFL meeting until the main Relay for Life of Shelby County event this summer, which will be Aug. 3-4 at the county fairgrounds.
Tickets can also be purchased for $1 each, six for $5, or 10 for $15. The winner of the raffle will be awarded half of the money raised for the luminaria remembrance ceremony. The other half will go toward Relay for Life of Shelby County.
To honor cancer survivors at the kickoff, a red carpet was laid out for all in attendance to walk down. At the end of the carpet, survivors shared their names and how long they’d been survivors.
Afterward, one survivor, Angie Neth, gave a brief speech about her battle with cancer. Neth was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called carcinoid, which manifests as a slow-growing tumor.
“Sixteen years ago, I went to Columbus to have a gastric bypass,” Neth said. “Little did I know I would leave the hospital without a bypass, but knowing I have cancer.”
This discovery led to a 10-hour surgery to remove the tumor, after which Neth was optimistic that she would be cancer-free.
“Being told I had more of a chance of dying by getting hit by a car than this cancer killing me, I felt pretty good about that,” she said. “What I wasn’t told was that it was going to be a long hard road that I would be walking.”
About seven years later, Neth and her doctors discovered she had developed lymphoma, which led to her undergoing chemotherapy. After the completion of chemo, Neth said she was released by her lymphoma doctor, only to start back with her carcinoid doctor.
In May of 2017, she was told the carcinoid cancer had progressed so badly in her liver that she would need to undergo TACE, which is a procedure used to treat malignant tumors by delivering chemotherapy and embolization materials directly into the liver in the attempt to restrict the tumor’s blood supply.
Neth said this procedure was excruciatingly painful.
“Through all of this, I’ve tried to keep a positive outlook, always looking for the good,” she said. “When you go through cancer, you seem to look around and, always, there is someone who is worse off than yourself.”
Neth went on to say that her family is a huge source of her happiness and positivity.
“There are not many days that you don’t see a smile on my face,” she said. “I am a mother of four, a grandmother of five, and most of all, I am alive to enjoy them.”
To volunteer for Relay for Life, call Wood or Kaufman at the numbers above. For information, visit www.relayforlife.org/shelbycounty.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825