Laps Of Love Relay For Life Team Page Relay For Life, American Cancer Society

Relay for Life, White Bear Lake, MN
Relay for Life Fundraiser Relay For Life - White Bear Lake, MN Locks of Love - Donations, White Bear Lake, MN

Wall of Hope

Pat Wilcox
I walk because …….. When I was a little girl I remember when someone got cancer it was a death sentence. I remember grown ups in my life whispering things like “It’s cancer” or “Oh ……cancer”. I never understood what that meant or why they were so sad. The first few people I knew who got cancer were distant relatives, people I really didn’t really see on a regular basis. I saw the sadness in eyes of the grown ups as they talked at funerals and learned to understand this was serious. I walk because this is a serious disease.

During my second year of college my dog, Lucky was diagnosed with bone cancer and my sister and I were left with the hard decision of extensive treatments or putting our dog to sleep. Lucky made the decision for us and died peacefully at the vet. I walk because this is a hard disease.

My last year of college my grandpa, Bud was diagnosed with cancer and given only months to live. He died within just a few months. I watched this man I had known all my life to be lively, loud, and goofy with us grandkids become sick, skinny, and unable to care for himself. I painfully watched as my dad mourned the loss of his father. I walk because this is a painful disease.

Cancer stayed away from me for a while then. It was around though, still changing the lives of people all over the world.

I started walking the Relay for Life in 2004 when two of my co-workers were diagnosed with cancer in the same school year. You see, I am a teacher and some say we have a special place in heaven waiting for us. Cancer didn’t care about that. My mentor and partner teacher for the first 6 years of my teaching career, Mary Riehle was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in the spring and had to leave the school year early. I watched and prayed with her students and tried to help comfort 6 and 7 year olds about this unfair disease. Mary continues to fight cancer after over 6 years of treatments, recovery, and reoccurrences. I walk because this is an unfair disease.

Shortly after the school year ended another teacher, Grace Schrantz who had recently retired was diagnosed with brain cancer. She fought the battle for longer then the doctors expected. She was stubborn and knew she had things to finish here. Sadly though Grace died after the cancer came back. I walk because this is a stubborn disease.

I recently watched my best friend, my sister Kim put her young dog to sleep because he was diagnosed with cancer and in pain, not eating and unable to get up. Funny how it doesn’t matter whether it’s a human or a pet, cancer hurts no matter what. I walk because cancer hurts.

Another retired teacher from my school, Joannie Hauri was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had recently gotten a clean bill of health from her doctor when she found her lump. She encourages people to have an awareness of their own bodies and to get things checked out. I walk because we need to help spread an awareness to as many people as we can.

In 2007 we were surprised to learn that my cousin Trish was diagnosed with metastic squamus cell carcinoma 3. Cancer! Trish and I are only 9 months apart and as kids we were well….. there is no nice way to say it we were the family bullies. We teased and tormented our other cousins at every chance. How can someone my age get cancer? Trish is a single mom of three kids, she was WAY to young to be dealing with such a disease. I am happy to say she is cancer free! I walk because cancer surprises you and has no age limits.

In the fall of 2008 cancer hit close to home. My mom was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I have watched the strongest woman I know battle this serious, hard, painful, unfair, stubborn disease with the best attitude and outlook on life that I can imagine. It hurt as I sat helpless while her hair fell out, her fingernails fell off, her skin turned red and polka dotted as she called it, she lost weight and became easily fatigued. I worked up courage to tell my 3 and 5 year olds that Grandma had cancer and we needed to pray for her lots. I cried myself to sleep the night before her double mastectomy, worrying not only for her but my dad who once again was watching someone close to him get broken down by this disease. I gleamed with pride as she dressed up funny each week of chemo just to surprise the nurses, as she looked through hat and wig catalogs with my daughters who helped Gram pick fashionable new head attire, and as she worried about my stress level during conference and report card time. I laughed when she spray-painted a wig bright pink to wear at relay last year.

This year I walk for my mom. I couldn’t be prouder of her as she battles this serious, hard, painful, unfair, stubborn disease. I work to raise money to help research so cancer cannot continue to hurt. I have an awareness of the need to help. Start asking around you’ll be surprised how many people have or know someone fighting cancer.

Thanks for your time and support!

Pat Wilcox, Cancer Survivor
In Honor of Emma Tempel
aka "Granny" 1919-1999
25 Year Cancer Survivor

Having cancer never seemed to phase you, you did what you had to do and you were done. It was just that simple.
Oh how I wish you were here now, I know that you are walking beside me during my journey-and transferring your courage.
Praying has helped me gather the strength I need to fight my battle, thank you for listening.
Every spring when the peony comes up, I get excited knowing it is your way of telling me you are here, and you continue to live on.

I miss you, You are my hope. Trish

Emma "Granny" Tempel 1919 - 1999

Harold "Bud" Wilcox
Seventeen years ago my grandfather was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. As courageous as he was, his cancer was too fierce, and he lost his battle very quickly. So, now we are left with only memories of his smile, his laugh, and his love for life, not to mention the 1923 Model T that still sits in the garage because he never got a chance to restore it. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. His great-grandchildren will only know him from pictures and the stories we tell them - they'll never get a chance to take a motorhome trip, or go fishing. Our family was truly blessed to have had him in our lives, but he was taken from us much too early. Although we think about, and miss him every day, the Relay for Life gives us an opportunity to do something to fight back so that hopefully there will come a day when no other lives are cut short by this terrible disease.

Bud Wilcox 1923 - 1992

Last fall my german shephard was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma, often referred to as the "silent killer". Within two weeks I went from having a vibrant healthy dog to sitting in the vets office, holding his head in my lap as his suffering came to an end. Most days I come home expecting to see that face on the other side of the door waiting to greet me and then the realization hits that he's not there. Someday I know he'll be waiting for me on the other side of the rainbow bridge with those big ears and wagging tail and it will be as if no time has passed.

Augie 2000 - 2007
Relay for Life, White Bear Lake, MN