Reprinted here in its entirety.
Wood believes if it weren't for an experimental study conducted by the American
Cancer Society more than 30 years ago, he wouldn't be alive.
Wood was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1975. After treatments the
cancer went away, but two years later it reappeared, this time in the form of a
lump right above his collarbone, he said.
Doctors predicted Wood, then just 28 years old, had six months to live.
Then the American Cancer Society approached him to participate in a study of
Cisplatinum, a drug that had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug
After two months of expensive treatments, all paid for by ACS, doctors saw no
more signs of the cancer.
“It was the Cancer Society's contribution that saved me in 1977,” Wood says.
After the study Wood, now 58, had many other bouts with health problems
associated with cancer, but tonight he will walk proudly around Oxford High
School's football stadium to represent cancer survivors.
Every Relay for Life Walk finale he participates in is one small way Wood
feels he can give back to the American Cancer Society, he said.
Last year in Calhoun County, 85 teams raised $439,000, said Lisa Haugen, the
area's development representative for ACS.
Local teams raised more money than Alabama counties with large metropolitan
cities such as Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile.
This year, 117 teams are participating in the local Relay for Life,
endeavoring to raise at least $500,000, Haugen said.
As Haugen tallied donations Thursday night, she said the totals seemed even
more promising than last year, she said.
She would not disclose how much had been raised so far. The suspense will
have to continue until after 11 p.m., she said.
“Sometimes they hold those dollars until the last second,” she said of
Haugen, who has lost two relatives to cancer, said Relay for Life “represents
those lost to cancer who won't be forgotten and people who are battling cancer
who will be supported … maybe one day cancer can be eliminated.”
Sandy Golden, an Alexandria High School teacher, also will participate in the
ceremony. She was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in September
and has been on an emotional rollercoaster ever since.
After returning to school in August, she felt more tired than usual. She
recalled saying to her husband, “this year's getting the best of me. I must
really be getting old.”
Next, she remembers hearing her heart thumping loudly in her ears. Then she
knew something was wrong.
Within a month, she was diagnosed with AML and sent to University Hospitals
in Birmingham to start chemotherapy treatments. “It was just boom, boom, boom,
you've got abnormal cells, you've got Leukemia and you're off to Birmingham. It
was very, very sudden.
“When you hear the words and the diagnosis that you have cancer, your initial
reaction feels like you (have been given) a death sentence,” she said.
After her chemotherapy treatments, her blood count was extremely low and she
needed to have a bone marrow transplant.
While in Birmingham this year, she used the services of Hope Lodge, provided
by ACS. Since she had to live within 15 minutes of a hospital after the
transplant, it was the best option, and her family saved money instead of paying
for her to live in the city.
Haugen said county residents spent some 287 nights at Hope Lodge last year.
“It is my understanding that it wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for the
money raised at Relay for Life,” Golden said.
Relay for Life
5:30-7: Cancer survivors reception
6: Tank rides, baton
6:40: Survivor recognition
7:30: Weaver Flippers and Jumpers demonstration
8-8:45: PasTime concert
8-10: Scavenger hunt
captains to light luminaries
9-9:30: Ceremony of Hope
11: Team totals announced
12-6: Games, toilet paper bride competition, poker
laps, trivia, bingo
5:45: Closing ceremonies
6: Competition ends
See story at The Anniston Star's website: www.annistonstar.com