Grand County Relay for Life: Waliking through the night to battle cancer
August 6, 2009
Leslie Dines of Tabernash battled cancer at the young of age 16.She first noticed a lump in her breast, but didn’t say anything for a year.When she did, she found out the lump was malignant.What followed was a modified radical mastectomy during which the entire breast was removed. Shortly after, Dines had the other removed. “Because I was so young, it was very strange, very hard,” said Dines. “But in some ways, because I was so young, it was almost easier. I hadn’t had breasts for very long.”It was tough, but I think it was really tough for the people around me.”As a survivor 27 years later, Dines has been a strong supporter of the American Cancer Society. This year, she is putting her energies into Grand County’s Relay for Life as the event chairperson. On Aug. 8, community members plan to walk the track for a full 24 hours in the community’s third annual – those who have survived the disease and those undergoing treatment will walk alongside family members, supporters and caregivers.In 2008, 350 million people in 5,000 communities worldwide embraced Relay for Life and raised $408 million for cancer research, services and advocacy.In Grand County alone, walkers raised $12,000. Relay organizers expect to double that amount this year.The money provides research that can lead to preventative services like mammography, the PAP and PSA screening tests, effective drugs like Tamoxifen, identification of genes integral in breast and colon cancers and to the discovery of treatments like bone marrow transplants. The American Cancer Society has spent $3 billion on such research since 1946.The Society also supports services that help those who are undergoing treatments. “It’s really hard to be a cancer patient up here in Grand County; it’s hard to get to Denver for chemotherapy and radiation treatment,” Dines said. The Society makes available hotel vouchers and gas cards to help patients relieve cost burdens associated with Denver overnight stays and travel.Another way the Relay has helped cancer patients, Dines said, is by making available counseling, prosthesis and wigs for those in need.The local Relay, with the theme, “Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back,” includes a victory lap at the start of the race to honor cancer survivors.Then participants walk throughout the night, Dines said, “to symbolize that cancer never sleeps.”- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.