There are several Relay for Life events to raise funds for cancer patients in the state of Hawaii. During the Hilo Relay for Life event this past Saturday, July 16, 2016 participants walked around the track at the Francis Wong stadium from 4 p.m. to midnight. HMSA had a booth led by Diane Kent, manager of the Neighbor Islands Provider Relations department. Diane shared with me why she helps to raise funds for the Relay event every year:
I don’t know a single person whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer. I’m sure everyone agrees that cancer sucks, but it can really shake your core when it hits very close to home. My baby sister (youngest of six kids) was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer when she was only 39. I can still vividly remember the day, and where we sat when she came from the doctor’s office to tell me. No one in my family had cancer before. She was the first. Statistics showed a 5 percent survival rate after five years, for a 3b diagnosis. We all rallied our support to continuously show our love, peace, and gratitude, so she could concentrate on being well. You might ask, “Why gratitude?” The explanation is pretty logical. We were grateful for many things:
1) My sister was a fighter.
2) She wasn’t alone in this journey – there was a lot of information readily available on the web, in our community, and among our family and friends.
3) Her healthcare team was awesome – very caring and patient.
4) She beat the odds – we journeyed with her for 13 years.
My sister was an inspiration for me. I helped her as much as I could, and through our conversations, I learned so much about the truly important things in life. I Relay because I can, and I believe it makes a difference. The gift of “hope” is priceless. And it costs so little to give. Everyone should Relay, if nothing else, it’s great exercise!
Diane Kent (far left) and others from HMSA's booth at the 2016 Hilo Relay for Life.