From as young as four years old, to seniors in their 80s and 90s, cancer survivors celebrated their lives and remembered loved ones during the Relay for Life in Stettler last weekend.
“We need to come together like this to celebrate the fight and the victories,” said Coronation resident Karen Osetsky, the mother of four-year-old Hannah Crocker, the youngest in the survivors’ lap last Friday night at the Stettler track.
Diagnosed with leukemia at two-and-a-half years old, Hannah has since been declared as free of cancer.
“We need support like the Relay for Life and awareness of cancer,” Osetsky said.
Support from family and community strengthens those on their journey with cancer. That was evident during the fourth annual Stettler Relay for Life between 7 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Sunday on the William E. Hay Composite High School track.
Touching the younger generation, nine-year-old Ainsleigh Lucki of Big Valley alone raised $2,100 in honour of a young Stettler friend Aisley Ball, who was diagnosed with leukemia last December and has started treatment in Calgary.
“She also donated 13 inches of hair to Angel Hair for Kids,” said Ainsleigh’s mother, Amanda Lucki.
“Her whole family, school and friends are extremely proud of what she did.”
When she found out her friend was diagnosed with cancer, Ainsleigh committed to raising money and she joined Team Aisley for the Relay for Life.
“Ainsleigh set a personal goal of raising $1,000 for Team Aisley, and if she hit this goal, she would donate her hair to cancer to be used to make a wig for a child in need and she doubled her goal,” Lucki said.
She raised the money through personal donations, her “any change will help make a change” campaign, and by selling cookies and juice.
“She’s pretty modest — she doesn’t say too much about it,” said Lucki, who added that her daughter already has plans set for next year’s Relay for Life.
For the older generations, the survivors’ lap and support has helped take them a long way down the road to recovery.
“I’ve had great support from my wife, Linda, children and medical staff,” said David Chick, 63, of Halkirk.
Chick was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2008, before he had brain lesions in 2010.
“To participate in Relay for Life is a bonus,” he said. “It’s a blessing.
“I hope a get a clean bill of health when I go for an MRI and CAT scan on July 4.”
Chick was part of The CHICKen Coop team entered in the Stettler relay.
At 75 years young, Adeline Laisnez of Stettler recently began her battle with cancer.
“It touched my heart to be here,” said Laisnez, who was diagnosed just in April with breast cancer and said she appears on her road to recovery, with strong support from her husband Charles and family.
“I’m still fighting and I’ll be here next year with bells on,” Laisnez said with a happy laugh.
First diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2003 and now cancer-free, another Stettler man celebrated life at the Relay for Life.
“It gives people encouragement for what they’ve gone through,” said Markus Stadelmann, 75. “It gives them some hope.”
“When you look at all the cancers, cancer can be beaten.”