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‘Don’t procrastinate’ is cancer survivor message at Relay for Life
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

June 18. 2013 9:23AM
Thirteen teams turned out for the second annual Relay for Life of Brandon Valley-Garretson. Teammates walked the high school track for 12 hours, from Friday evening until Saturday morning, to honor those battling cancer, and those who fell to the disease. The event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

The theme of the Relay was “Take a Holiday from Cancer,” as survivors celebrated the holidays they have beat cancer. At least one member of each team was on the track during the 12-hour event.

“The people that were there had so much fun,” said Relay co-chairwoman Brenda Feltman. “Everybody was really into it.”

Breast cancer survivor Nancy Krull spoke to the Relay crowd during opening ceremonies, which featured the Survivors’ Victory Lap, a Caregivers’ Lap, and finally a Team Lap.

“Don’t procrastinate,” was the message Krull delivered in her speech. “With life, we have challenges, and it’s up to us if we’re going to let it take us down,” she said.

Had she put off a mammogram at age 45, Krull said she may not have seen her 46th birthday.

“If I continued to procrastinate, I question if I would be here today,” she said.

Through her mammogram, it was discovered that Krull had ductal carcinoma in situ, also known as DCIS, which is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.
“If you’re going to have cancer, this is a good kind of cancer to have,” she said.

Upon learning of her diagnosis, Krull scheduled her surgery three weeks out. She needed the time to learn about the disease, put her home and work life in order, and to tell her family.

The disease she’d just been diagnosed with was going to change life as she knew it.

“I may have it in my body, but my family just got cancer,” she said.

Krull said she and her family approached her recovery with humor and positive attitudes.

“Cancer may have taken a physical part of my body, but it couldn’t take my faith or my spirit,” she said.

This October, Krull will be cancer free four years.

Brandon Valley High School senior Erin Buse and her team of “Cat Lovers” returned for a second year.

“We all have a love of cats,” she said, explaining the team name.

Buse said she and her teammates had so much fun last year that there was no doubt they’d be back for the second annual Relay for Life.

“We had a lot of fun all night,” she said. “The atmosphere was so much fun and it was really cool.”

While a member of the Cat Lovers team kept pace on the track, Buse and other team members threw Frisbee around the football field and had a guitar and bongos in their camp to make music long into the night.

“There’s never a dull moment,” she said.

During the 12-hour Relay, organizers planned activities for the walkers and runners, throughout the night, John Small of Sunny Radio announced activities, including a Zumba workout, contests, a luminaria lighting ceremony, food, and other activities.
Participants also honored those struck with cancer by decorating luminarias. These paper bags lit from the inside with candles circled the track.

While the event is to raise money for cancer research, it also raises awareness, said Feltman. Toward morning, there was a Fight Back ceremony to encourage people to get screenings, wear sunscreen and do other preventions to try to avoid getting cancer or to detect it early.

Feltman said planning for the 2014 Relay for Life of Brandon Valley-Garretson will begin in September. New committee members are always welcome, she said.

“Our goal will be to focus on getting more teams and survivors there,” she said. “I’m already making notes because I’m passionate about it."

Cancer survivors at Friday's Relay for Life of Brandon Valley-Garretson take their victory lap around the track. Photo by Jill Meier

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