Relay for Life is set for this weekend at Perdue Field (see page A5 for a schedule of events). The annual Survivors Dinner, held Monday at the Cadiz Baptist Church Annex, served as a kickoff for the event.
Several cancer survivors living in Trigg County were present and honored at the event.
Among them were Charles Terrell, 65, and Thelma Fowler, 70, both of whom shared stories of recovery from cancer.
Terrell was diagnosed with prostate cancer on March 17, 2002 and had successful surgery two months later.
“I went to the doctor for a checkup and found out my PSA was high,” Terrell said. “My doctor wanted me to come back quickly, but my mother was sick so I didn’t call him for maybe a week. She died during that time. It never really hit me at the time because I was so worried about her.”
After a biopsy revealed cancer, Terrell said he had to decide between treatment or surgery. He said he’s glad he chose the latter.
“I had other options, but I wanted to have the surgery and get it over with,” Terrell said. “I haven’t had any problems since. I know some that had the same thing and went with other options. One of them didn’t last six months.”
A few years later, Terrell learned he had skin cancer on his ear, but it was taken care of with plastic surgery.
“I’ve never thought that much about it since I’ve had the surgeries,” Terrell said. “I don’t dwell on it.”
Fowler was diagnosed with spindle cell neoplasm 18 years ago.
“I found that every time I touched my nose, the pain just killed me,” Fowler said. “I went to Paducah, and my doctor said I needed surgery right away. I ended up having two surgeries, and they got it all without treatments. I was under care for 13 years.”
Like many people, Fowler wasn’t the only member of her family affected by cancer. Her sister, Kay Creamer, passed away from breast cancer.
“You never know when it’s going to hit home,” Fowler said. “I had to have thyroid surgery recently, and with every pain, I think, ‘Is this cancer?’ It’s easy to think of the bad things after you’ve had them happen to you.”
Terrell and Fowler said, as survivors, have both been active in Relay for Life for most of its existence here. They said it means a great deal to them to live in a community that supports cancer research so well.
“A lot of that money goes to people with cancer in Trigg County,” Terrell said.
Trigg’s Relay has won seven national awards for being No. 1 per capita (population 10,000-14,999), the most recent in 2007. Trigg has also been a top-10 nationwide community eight times, including last year, and been at the top of the Mid-South Division per capita seven times, including last year.