Relay Community Offers Comfort During Trying Time
This article was written by Alex Goldowsky, a member of the Relay For Life planning committee at Boston College. Alex, on the far right, is pictured here with his family.
My introduction to Relay For Life was a bit non-traditional, as I didn’t have a direct connection to cancer.
As a member of a youth group in the 8th grade, I was asked to be part of the planning committee in my hometown’s Relay. Little did I know that this event would become such an important part of my life.
Six months after my first Relay, my mom came down with a cough that just wouldn’t go away. It was only after what was supposed to be a quick doctor’s visit, that the magnitude of her illness was revealed. My mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It was the winter of 2004 and I was a freshman in high school.
What followed were months of rigorous cycles of chemotherapy that caused my mom to lose her hair and her strength, but not her fighting spirit. By the end of her chemo treatments, she was declared cancer-free.
Everything was returning back to normal. My two brothers and I had our mom back in full force. Then, two years later, after one of my mom’s follow-up scans, a lymph node was shown to be acting up in the same area her original cancer was found. After what seemed like tens of appointments, it was finally determined that my mom had relapsed. She was ultimately diagnosed with Hodgkin disease.
Doctors said the only way she could beat the disease was to have a stem-cell transplant. After undergoing more chemotherapy and radiation, my mother had her stem-cell transplant the weekend of Thanksgiving 2007. Thankfully, the transplant was a success.
The one consistent presence in my life that kept me going during these years of turmoil was Relay For Life. My Relay family supported me, and without them I don’t know that I would have been able to cope with everything that was thrown at me. Since I’ve been a Relay For Life of Boston College planning committee member, it has been my mission for the past three years to spread the mission of Relay, which is ultimately to find more cures.
It is my hope that my younger brother Jonathan, a freshman, will help carry this event forward. I am truly indebted to my Relay For Life colleagues for being there for me when I needed them most, and for that I am so incredibly thankful.