A golden opportunity at Relay for Life

For several years now I have been part of the Herald’s Relay for Life team. I had relatives and friends die from cancer so raising money to find a cure for the disease was a cause I wanted to support.

Finding a cure has become even more important to me during the past year since my daughter Ellen, now 6, was diagnosed with leukemia. A year ago today my family was with her at MeritCare in Fargo as she had surgery to implant a port and begin her initial chemotherapy treatments. I missed Relay for Life last year because we brought Ellen home from the hospital during Relay weekend and she was feeling very ill.

I’m happy to say that, overall, Ellen is now doing much better. Her hair, which she lost from the intense chemo treatments she had in the early phases of treatment, is growing in thick and wavy, and more importantly, she feels good most of the time. She still has some "down" days when she catches viruses that are going around or when her chemo treatments (which she will continue for another one and half to two years) make her feel crummy, but, for the most part, she is full of pep and keeps busy playing with our dogs, playing t-ball and keeping her brothers in line.

Tomorrow, June 5, Ellen will be at the Herald’s Relay for Life tent at University Park with Rosebud, the "Air Buddies" golden retriever puppy, she received from the production crew of the Disney movie Santa Buddies. We plan to be at the tent for a couple of hours beginning at 4:30 p.m. so if anyone wants to meet and photograph a movie star, bring your camera and come by and say "Hi." Ellen would love to meet, you, too.