For children, it’s hard to understand the meaning of cancer, especially if it’s your mother, father, grandfather, grandmother or close friend. As a child, you may find out one of your family members is diagnosed with the horrible disease, and if the cancer spreads it’s hard to imagine life without your loved one. In other cases, cancer patients fight through and beat cancer, even multiple times, but others do lose the battle.
Sandy Skousen, the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life local Kingman leader, has had to deal with her mother, father, and close friend becoming victims of cancer.
Skousen was in the seventh grade when she found out her mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Skousen didn’t know what cancer was at that age and had to ask her health teacher what it was.
“He asked why and I said, ‘My mommy has it.’ He didn’t know what to do.”
Skousen’s mother became her inspiration to start participating in the Relay For Life events when Skousen reached high school, and since then she has been a part of 10 relay events. Her mother doesn’t speak of being a cancer survivor but is by Sandy’s side during the Relay For Life events.
“I’m going to cry. She knows I’m doing it for her,” Skousen said.
American Cancer Society is second to the government when it comes to cancer research spending. In the last 105 years, ACS has had a hand in every major medical breakthrough related to cancer.
The money collected during the Relay For Life event goes to ACS, but some of that money stays local to help cancer patients with treatment or rides to their treatments if needed.
During the Relay For Life event, there will be a survivor and caregiver dinner. The dinner is free and open to any cancer survivors, caregivers, or caregivers who may have lost their, Skousen said.
Cancer can be a difficult subject to talk about most of the time, so during the event there will also be fun for those attending. “Board games” is the theme for the event, and the different campsites are encouraged to decorate their areas in accordance with the theme.
“We have games like chess, Yahtzee, Battleship, and Candy Land,” Skousen said.
There will be themed laps when people can come out and be a little goofy. Laps will include sportswear, tutus and tatas, dress in complete purple, glam it up, vacation and others.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths will also be at the event giving free haircuts to those who want to donate their hair for wigs for the people undergoing cancer treatments and suffering that particular side effect. There is a minimum requirement of eight inches, and hair cannot be bleached or have dye.
It’s always good to have fun, but there will be serious moments that happen during the event. There is a luminaria ceremony where people can take the time to reflect.
“It’s pretty tear-jerking, it’s very emotional,” Skousen said.
During the luminaria ceremony, people who lost the battle with cancer are remembered. Participants walk the track by candlelight in complete darkness and at the end of the track they light up a “hope” sign.
“Relay For Life is an overnight event because cancer never sleeps,” Skousen said. “So for one night, we don’t either.”
There are 20 survivors registered, 87 participants, and $12,327 raised, as of Thursday.
Romer Beverage, Kingman Regional Medical Center, Cerbat Dental Group, the Elite Home Group, along with many others, are sponsoring the event.
The Kingman Relay For Life event is 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. June 2-3 at Kingman High School, 4182 N Bank St. Registration the day of the event is from 4-8 p.m., but to register early, visit kingmanrelay.com. Registration and the event itself is free.
For any questions, email Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.