FIGHT Against Cancer: Stories Of Survival

Photo submitted Hazel Miller, 3, is shown here in her hospital bed. She was named junior marshal for the Washington County Relay for Life.

This Friday will be a birthday celebration of sorts for a Churchtown couple as they kick off the Washington County Relay for Life together.

“It isn’t really, obviously, but we like to consider it’s our birthday when we get to walk together,” said Tim Best, 60, a near 20-year survivor of appendiceal cancer, a rare form of cancer that was found in 1999 during surgery at Marietta Memorial for appendicitis.

Best and his wife, Judy, 59, will be the parade marshals for the 2018 Washington County Relay for Life this Friday and Saturday in Belpre. Judy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000 after a routine exam. Both are currently in remission but the back-to-back diagnoses hit the family hard.

“My only down time was healing from a pretty serious surgery (which removed the appendix and tumor). I didn’t have the traditional chemo. But my wife had chemo after her surgery. It was very rough on us but more so on our four children,” Tim said.

The 2018 Washington County Relay for Life event will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. at Belpre Civitan Park when teams will set up and decorate their camp sites. Opening ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. Friday followed by the survivor and caregiver walk, which will be led by the Bests.

Photo submitted Tim and Judy Best, of Churchtown, both cancer survivors, are the parade marshals for the Washington County Relay for Life.

“We have about 50 teams signed up so far and anticipate some will wait until the last minute,” said Michele Hendershot, sponsorship lead for the event, which aims to raise $100,000 this year.

The theme is Blast Cancer to the Moon and most everyone who is involved has been touched by cancer some way or another.

“My mom died from stomach cancer in 2005,” Hendershot said. “My main goal is finding a cure so no one has to go through what she went through.”

This is the first season that Tracy Barnhart, a resident of Noble County, has been the community development manager for Washington County Relay for Life, but she has been involved with Relay for the better part of 10 years.

“I have lost family members to cancer, I have survivors in my family and it’s something that is personally very important to me,” she said.

Barnhart said that she thinks it is important for the general public to attend the Relay for Life events, to learn about what the organization does to fund cancer research.

“You don’t have to be part of a team to be part of Relay. Anyone can come down to see what we do and to hear the stories,” she said.

One of those stories is that of 3-year-old Hazel Miller, daughter of Nat and Elizabeth Miller of Marietta. Hazel was named junior parade marshal for this year’s Relay for Life.

At the age of 2, on Easter in 2017, Hazel was diagnosed with pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia after running some ordinary blood work. It is a form of bone marrow cancer in which the marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The disease also affects the body’s ability to make red cells and platelets.

“It’s not extremely rare and is actually one of the most curable cancers,” said Janet Webster, Hazel’s aunt on her mom’s side.

Hazel is currently in the maintenance phase and receiving chemo treatments at home. The website BasilforHazel.org was set up on behalf of the family to raise money for medical expenses.

If you go

¯ What: Washington County Relay for Life.

¯ When: Friday, starting at 4 p.m., Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

¯ Where: Belpre Civitan Park, 1500 Blennerhassett Ave., Belpre.

¯ Who: Cancer survivors, supporters and the general public.

Source : http://www.mariettatimes.com/news/2018/05/relay-for-life-focuses-on-fight-against-cancer-stories-of-survival/

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