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A personal stake in Relay for Life
RELAY3 4-29-12
Cancer survivor Don Tisher has support as makes it through the survivor lap Saturday at the Manteca Relay for Life conducted at Sierra High.

I was handed my baton for the Relay for Life team on September 1, 2011.

When you pick up a lap for this relay team you’ll never forget the moment it all became real. My wife and I suspected some slight regression in some of our 7-month-old son’s development and we set up an impromptu appointment.

My wife would leave work and meet myself and young Jyriaun at Kaiser Permanente. After a few questions, a test of this and that and finally a scan of his head, our pediatrician was directing me to return home and pack a trip to Oakland.

“Pack, pack for how long?”

“Mr. Chambers, you should pack for a few weeks.”

The uncertainty was extreme, but the reality less than 24 hours later than our first-born son had Medullablastoma Brain Cancer wasn’t too much better. I remember one of my first words I mouthed in the “brace-yourself-we-have-some-bad-news” meeting with our medical team, was about the fact that I’d been involved with Relay for Life.

Everybody knows cancer, but it’s a tough, emotionally-draining road getting to KNOW cancer.

To reflect back to my child’s nine-hour brain surgery on Sept. 1 and thinking of him being involved in this year’s Relay For Life as a survivor is a really a humbling reflection. I know how many people immediately fell in line for our relay team and it is impossible to live beyond this disease without teammates.

The support from others, who empathize with you as you travel through the most unstable moments in life, will undoubtedly be the foundation to those who are able to conquer. When you care about somebody who has cancer, the impact that you have in that life is immeasurable.

As we all pick up the batons for our own particular Relay for Life teams, please continue to spread that hope because if there is one thing I have learned from cancer over the past 7-plus months, it’s that nobody should have to make that race alone.