Hi, my name is Gem Jaggernov, and this is why I Relay.
Shortly before Relay season 2011 I lost my mother to cancer. She battled for over 5 years, her strength and determination were inspiring. While Mom was in the final months of her life, my younger sister Marcia was diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemo and radiation she is cancer free, 15 months to be exact. In the next few days she will welcome her first grandchild into the world. We still hold our breath when she has her screenings, but she is living life and loving her family. This is why I Relay.
My father had colon cancer in 1983, before there were well developed protocols. The doctor said "We got everything we could touch or feel, the rest is in God's hands." Dad survived the odds, and went on to battle bladder cancer twice, and kick cancer's backside twice more. This is why I Relay.
My paternal grandmother, and great-grandmother both died from colon cancer. My grandmother was so modest that what could have been caught in early stages was hopeless. There were no treatments for my great-grandmother. We are better educated now, thanks to the ACS, so that modesty no longer stands in the way of treatment for so many. This is why I Relay.
I Relay in memory of my mother, and grandmothers. I Relay in honor of my 89 year old father, and my sister. I Relay for myself, against the day that I might have to face the beast. I Relay for my unborn great-nephew, that he never have to hear the words "You have cancer." Lastly, I Relay because it is simply what I must do, I feel I have no other choice.