PHOTO: Barb Catlett (center) made these two quilts, which will be auctioned off at the Relay For Life on June 7. The quilts were displayed March 12 during the Relay For Life Kickoff by Lin Meyer (left) of the Relay for Life, and Andrea Goedderz of the American Cancer Society. (Photos by Pete Temple)
PHOTO: Linda Schatz (right) tells the story of her battle with ovarian cancer during the Relay For Life Kickoff March 12 at the Berndes Center. At left is husband and caregiver Bernie Schatz.
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Messages of hope mixed with somber tales as the Jones County Relay For Life held its kickoff party Tuesday, March 12 at the Berndes Center in Monticello.
It was announced that this year’s Relay For Life will be Friday, June 7, from 5 to 11 p.m. at Dean Nelson Field.
At the kickoff, Andrea Goedderz, senior community relations director for the American Cancer Society, spoke of what she called the “reasons we relay.”
She used the acronym REAS to outline four areas focused upon by the ACS, including research, education, advocacy and services.
Goedderz also noted that this is the 100th year of the American Cancer Society.
“The next time we hit 100, let’s be done,” Goedderz said.
Cancer patient Linda Schatz, and her husband and caregiver Bernie, both spoke of Linda’s battle with Stage 4 ovarian cancer.
Linda talked about the symptoms she has experienced while undergoing extensive chemotherapy treatments. She said she has experienced hair loss, sensitive gums and teeth, blurred vision, aches in muscles, frequent headaches, memory loss, a lower energy level, vomiting, diarrhea and more.
All of this, she said, is the result of “18 months of poison being pushed through my veins.”
And yet, Linda expressed a message of hope.
“My thoughts of living with cancer include, first and foremost, a positive attitude and outlook on life, instead of looking for sympathy and pity,” she said. “I try and find a rainbow in every cloud. I try to live each day to get the most out of it. I feel fortunate to feel as good as I do, and I try to stay as healthy as a can, so I can continue to fight the cancer inside of me.
“I keep praying every day for advances in the research, not only for prolonging the lives of those with cancer, but ultimately finding cures. It’s not an easy journey, but with the support of family and friends, I can make the best of every day.”
Bernie discussed his experiences as caregiver for his wife of almost 40 years.
“As a caregiver, you need to pay attention to what’s going on, so you know what the patient is going through, and what you can do for that person,” he said. “Some people ask, ‘If you’re a caregiver, does that mean you can’t do what you want when you want or eat what you want when you want?’ Yes, that’s what it means, because first and foremost is the patient.
“Normalcy is the key, along with positive attitude. We’re very confident that with help from family, friends and our faith community, this is going to work out OK,” he added.
Signup sheets for relay teams were available, and participants took their first look at two quilts, made by Barb Catlett, that will be among the auction items.