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Holding on

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Surviving cancer is a hard-fought journey, and the walk to recovery is stronger when holding the hands of close family and friends.

Relay For Life is a way for community members to honor the survivors and share the memory of ones who lost their battle to the disease.

Polson resident Nancy Williams is one of the survivors who shared her time and story at Polson High School Friday, July 8. “You should never go get a physical on April Fool’s Day,” Williams said. It wasn’t a joke when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50. “It was a shock; I didn’t know what to believe.”

Despite the unknown, Williams immediately started chemotherapy and radiation treatment to fight back. “People used to ask me if I was afraid of dying,” Williams said.

“I was never afraid about dying because I knew the Lord was going to take care of me.” Williams explained that everyone has their own way of dealing with cancer, but she found relief through her faith and family — in particular her grandson Darian Williams, who entered her life after treatment.

“I started watching him when he was just one month old,” Nancy Williams said. After many years of babysitting and moments of Darian was able to return the love by holding her hand as she walked in the first two laps of the night’s activities that recognized survivors. “She is the world,” Darian said as he winked at his grandma. “She is strong and capable of many things.”

The relationship between grandma and grandson has become stronger by the journey. “He is not embarrassed to hold my hand in public,” Nancy said. “He is such a blessing to me.”

After 19 years of being cancer free, Nancy Williams has an exceptional outlook after her recovery. “I just feel good every morning when I get up … I might creak a little bit every now and then trying to do so, but every day is a blessing,” Nancy said. “I really feel that.”

Including the Williams duo, 89 participants and 12 teams raised more than $37,000 at the Relay For Life of Lake County.

The night included a cake auction, which raised more than $2,000; chili taste testing, raffle drawings, and a Luminaria Ceremony. Monies raised are used for cancer research, patient support, prevention education, and treatment.

Lake County Relay For Life Coordinator Joyce Kackmann hopes that future Relay For Life events will be an anniversary date for all survivors and no victims. “I Relay because I can’t wait for the day that Relay For Life becomes an event that no longer represents our fight against cancer, but commemorates and celebrates the day we beat it; the day everyone who has cancer can be told you will always be a survivor,” she said.

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