Editor's Note: Area residents will be sharing stories about how cancer has touched their lives leading up to Relay For Life of Douglas County. Here is Cathy's story:
BY CATHY BELCHER
I first participated in Relay For Life as a member of my daughter's work team. I walked in memory of my mother who passed away at the age of 73 from colon cancer on Aug. 23, 2003. She only lived two months after she was diagnosed, as it was too far along to do anything.
The next year, because I have a number of relatives that have had cancer, I decided to see if any of the other cousins would be interested in forming our own team. I did not get any response from my mother's side of the family, but I did from my father's side of the family. Thus "Team Paulsen" was born and this is our third year.
The list of family members on my mother's side that have suffered from cancer:
• Mary K. Paulsen (mom) — died of Colon Cancer at the age of 73.
• Uncle Charlie Bradford — died of Lung Cancer at the age of 72.
• Uncle Bill Bradford — died of Lung Cancer at the age of 60.
• Uncle Bud Bradford — died of Lung Cancer at the age of 43.
• Cousin Mike Hawkins — died of Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 18.
• Second Cousin Tim Lark — has been in remission for 17 years from Leukemia.
The list of family members on my father's side that have suffered from cancer:
• Bob Paulsen (dad) — has been in remission for 16 years from Colon Cancer.
• Uncle Steve Paulsen — died of Lymphoma & Prostate Cancer at the age of 72.
• Aunt Mary Louise Timmons — died at the age of 81 (this year) after 14 years of fighting Breast, Colon and Ovarian Cancers.
• Aunt Rita Collard — has been in remission for 11 years from Lymphoma Cancer.
• Uncle-In-Law Don Timmons -— has been in remission for 5 years from Kidney Cancer.
• Cousin Tim Paulsen — died of Brain Cancer at the age of 43.
• Cousin Dan Paulsen — has been in remission for 16 years from Melanoma Cancer.
• Second Cousin-In-Law Luana Paulsen — has been in remission for 11 years from Uterine Cancer.
• Second Cousin Chris Paulsen — has been in remission for 17 years from Testicular Cancer.
In my immediate family, the ones that have suffered from cancer:
• Son-in-law Tad Lemon — has been fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma since 2002.
• Daughter-In-Law Dr. Wendy Belcher — has been in remission for 3 years from Hodgkins Lymphoma.
We had a member on "Team Paulsen" the first year, Jacque Lebow, a friend of my daughter's from college, that has been in remisssion for 6 years from Thyroid Cancer. Also, my daughter-in-law's sister, Becky Hurley, developed Hodgkins Lymphoma last year and is still battling it.
So as you can see, I have a large family that cancer has hit. It is for all of them, as well as friends, that I do this relay. We have lost many, but we also still have many.
Hopefully some day research will have all the answers and we will not loose any more to Cancer.