Calling all Cancer Survivors!

Relay for Life
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Last year, Relay For Life had around 100 survivors walk in Utica. Our goal for this year is 125. It is estimated that around 400 survivors participated in opening ceremonies last year.  Are you a cancer survivor?  We want YOU! You are the light that shines in celebration of your battle.

Sandy Srour knows this. Sandy is one of the many cancer survivors who walk in the Relay For Life.  Sandy’s battle with cancer began seven years ago when she had an appointment with her doctor, just a regular check -up.  While she was there and feeling fine, her doctor asked if anything was bothering her health-wise.  Sandy felt fine except for some occasional heartburn. An endoscopy was scheduled to simply check things out and after two endoscopies she was told she had esophageal carcinoma. Having had two friends who passed away from esophageal carcinoma, Sandy was devastated. Once Sandy had her surgery, her recovery soon began. After spending 10 days in the hospital, Sandy was happy to go home.  She says, “I had the love and support of a wonderful family and beautiful friends. I don’t know how you get through something like this if you don’t have support to help you through that.”

Once Sandy’s life was back on track, she heard about Relay For Life from her sister and was invited to the event. Sandy explains, “My whole family came with me and that first walk – the survivor walk was just so emotional and my family standing on the side and clapping and crying. It was just a beautiful thing.”  Sandy’s experience walking the survivor lap inspired her to want to continue her fight for survival, so she became involved with the event’s planning committee.  Sandy now helps put together the survivor reception (that takes place after the survivor lap) and meets so many other people who share a common bond with her.

I am proud to also share the bond of survivorship with Sandy and many of you.  At 34 years old, I am a 32 year cancer survivor of a rare form of cancer called, Retinoblastoma, a cancer affecting the retina of the eye, when I was two years old.  I was diagnosed in January of 1984 and was immediately set to receive nine weeks of radiation therapy and visit my ophthalmologists in Syracuse and New York City. As an adult, I see how important it is to share my story, as well as others like Sandy’s because we have to stop this disease TOGETHER!

I walk for cancer because of me.  Will you walk for you?

Join Utica’s Relay For Life or one in your area.  Survivors can register to walk the opening laps at any of the events by going to, finding your local event’s website and then clicking ‘sign up’ (then choosing ‘walk the survivor lap’ option). It’s free.  You don’t have to be on a team to participate. And each event has a nice reception for the survivors & caregivers, free t-shirt for each survivor and a free gift.

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