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Relay For Life Ambassadors

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Cancer Survivors Serving As Ambassadors

The 2012 Mills County Relay for Life is set for June 2-3 from 4 p.m. - 8 a.m. at Ram Memorial Field in Glenwood.

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    More than 1,000 walkers are expected to participate in the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
    The Relay for Life committee has selected four ambassadors for this year’s event.
    “They are kind of similar to a grand marshal,” committee member Kathy Reisner said. “We have a list of several survivors and we try to pick people from various towns. It gives people some hope to have someone who has survived at the event.  We try to have several sites from Mills County involved.”
    The 2012 Relay for Life ambassadors are Ernestlee Brent of Glenwood, Jill Ford of Malvern, Jim Osler of Pacific Junction, and Leo Stortenbecker of Silver City.  
    The ambassadors will start the event with the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. They’ll also lead the survivor lap at 7:30 p.m. and light the first luminaries at 8:30 p.m. This year, the luminary ceremony will be done in silence with special music playing. One of the first ambassadors, Darryl Hopp, will give the prayer before the luminaria ceremony.
    Brent said being named an ambassador is “very, very much an honor.”  
    Brent went to her doctor for a routine physical on June 17, 2006, and discovered she had colon cancer. She went to the Cancer Center of Omaha for treatment, and started on a routine of 20 rounds of chemotherapy and 20 rounds of radiation, but they did not work. So Brent had two surgeries to remove the cancer, once on Halloween 2006 and again Dec. 23, 2006.  
    The second surgery worked, but it doesn’t mean Brent is cured. At this point, she goes to the oncologist every three months and has a colonoscopy every two years. She is careful with her diet, as certain foods, especially foods with preservatives in them, will irritate her colon.
    Brent joined the Bare Bashers Relay For Life team in June 2007.
    “I think I would have been very lonely without Relay for Life,” Brent said. “I haven’t missed it since I had my surgery, and I hope I don’t miss it until I am too old to walk.”
    Ford said she was “surprised, shocked,” to learn she was named an ambassador. Ford found out she had breast cancer on April 18, 2011, when she went in for a routine mammogram and the doctors found a suspicious spot on a breast. Additional testing discovered the cancer had also spread to other lymph nodes. Ford had a radical mastectomy on June 14, 2011, followed by chemotherapy for five months, then 33 radiation treatments over a period of 6.5 weeks. At this point, she goes to routine doctors’ appointments every three months, but is doing fine.
    Ford had never participated in Relay for Life until she herself had cancer. Her family will also participate this year.
    “It’s a very humbling experience to have this and know that yes, life does go on and you can look positively at it. You have to have faith, family and friends or you will never get through it – you find this out as you are going through it.”
    The 2012 Mills County Relay for Life is set for June 2-3 from 4 p.m. - 8 a.m. at Ram Memorial Field in Glenwood.
    More than 1,000 walkers are expected to participate in the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
    The Relay for Life committee has selected four ambassadors for this year’s event.
    “They are kind of similar to a grand marshal,” committee member Kathy Reisner said. “We have a list of several survivors and we try to pick people from various towns. It gives people some hope to have someone who has survived at the event.  We try to have several sites from Mills County involved.”
    The 2012 Relay for Life ambassadors are Ernestlee Brent of Glenwood, Jill Ford of Malvern, Jim Osler of Pacific Junction, and Leo Stortenbecker of Silver City. 
    The ambassadors will start the event with the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. They’ll also lead the survivor lap at 7:30 p.m. and light the first luminaries at 8:30 p.m. This year, the luminary ceremony will be done in silence with special music playing. One of the first ambassadors, Darryl Hopp, will give the prayer before the luminaria ceremony.
    Brent said being named an ambassador is “very, very much an honor.” 
    Brent went to her doctor for a routine physical on June 17, 2006, and discovered she had colon cancer. She went to the Cancer Center of Omaha for treatment, and started on a routine of 20 rounds of chemotherapy and 20 rounds of radiation, but they did not work. So Brent had two surgeries to remove the cancer, once on Halloween 2006 and again Dec. 23, 2006. 
    The second surgery worked, but it doesn’t mean Brent is cured. At this point, she goes to the oncologist every three months and has a colonoscopy every two years. She is careful with her diet, as certain foods, especially foods with preservatives in them, will irritate her colon.
    Brent joined the Bare Bashers Relay For Life team in June 2007.
    “I think I would have been very lonely without Relay for Life,” Brent said. “I haven’t missed it since I had my surgery, and I hope I don’t miss it until I am too old to walk.”
    Ford said she was “surprised, shocked,” to learn she was named an ambassador. Ford found out she had breast cancer on April 18, 2011, when she went in for a routine mammogram and the doctors found a suspicious spot on a breast. Additional testing discovered the cancer had also spread to other lymph nodes. Ford had a radical mastectomy on June 14, 2011, followed by chemotherapy for five months, then 33 radiation treatments over a period of 6.5 weeks. At this point, she goes to routine doctors’ appointments every three months, but is doing fine.
    Ford had never participated in Relay for Life until she herself had cancer. Her family will also participate this year.
    “It’s a very humbling experience to have this and know that yes, life does go on and you can look positively at it. You have to have faith, family and friends or you will never get through it – you find this out as you are going through it.”