Why I do Relay for Life

Casilda Gonzales and why I Relay for Life

Several years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, I worked as a registered nurse at a major medical center's Pediatric Oncology Unit. I remember going to work each day and holding a little boy of about 5 years old in my arms while he cried in pain. His tiny little lips were cracked and bleeding from his Chemotherapy and his head was bald. As painful as it was for me emotionally, it was by far the most rewarding position I have ever held as a nurse. I still see the fear and uncertainty in his little eyes because he just did not know what was happening to him.

Over the years, I have thought about that little boy and I still hear his withering cry as the pain of cancer ate away at his tiny little body. Sadly, he lost his battle.

As the years have passed, more and more people have come into my life that has had cancer. Some have conquered it, some have not. A very close RN friend of mine lost her battle with Inflammatory Breast Cancer at the age of 37. I will never forget the night she called me and asked me if I believed in the power of prayer. When I told her yes, she said, "Then I need you to pray for me because I HAVE CANCER!"

Bonita was the first person I ever knew personally who had cancer, much less died from it.

Cancer always happens to "other people," or that's what it seemed like, until one day in April 2006, I got a call from my doctor with those three dreaded little words, "You Have Cancer."

My life changed forever. I got involved with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life because I want to make sure that the American Cancer Society (ACS) can continue to conduct research to find cures for the many cancers that have taken peoples' lives.

I want them to find a cure for Inflammatory Breast Cancer, the deadliest of breast cancers that claimed my nurse friend's life. I want to make sure I get the word out there that in order for ACS to conduct greater and more extensive research, they need resources. They need our help!

Since my diagnosis, two of my sisters have been diagnosed: one with thyroid cancer and another with breast cancer. Thanks to the great work of our doctors and nurses, and to the American Cancer Society, we have all been diagnosed early enough in the disease process and are on our roads to recovery. THIS is why I relay.

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