The gym at Fitzgerald Academy in English Harbour West took on a very different atmosphere on Saturday April 21 as the 6th South Coast Relay for Life was held at the school.
One of the main events during the official opening ceremonies occurred when cancer survivor Hubert Langdon spoke to the gathering about his experience with Hodgkin’s Cancer.
Langdon was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in 2010 and today, following eight rounds of chemotherapy and 20 cycles of radiation, is considered cancer free although he has to see his doctors in St. John’s every four months for check-ups.
Langdon said that the Cancer Relays for Life are important for a number of reasons.
He said, “Just as the people before us raised money for cancer research which is helping patients live longer today, it’s important that people today continue the fund raising programs to help support cancer research for future generations. Today, the cancer survival rate is about 62 per cent and, with strong continuing support like this project here today, we can possibly see that number increasing in the future.
“It seems like more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer today, and we have to continue to fund research projects that will bring about more cures, better cures and more treatments for patients.”
Hodgkin’s Disease/Cancer is a good example of how cancer patients are living longer than previously as the improved treatments mean that the disease is not necessarily a death sentence today as it was in years past. Today’s improved treatments are also easier for patients to experience than before.
Langdon said that both local caner support groups’ projects and activities like the Relays for Life are necessary.
“While it’s important to help patients with money for transportation to treatments sites, we need funds to support research in making sure that treatments will improve in the future. “
Langdon also talked about the importance of Daffodil Place in St. John’s that is a home away from home for cancer patients who have to travel to St. John’s for treatments.
“One of the scariest things you think about when you’re diagnosed with cancer is the feeling that you may have to fight the disease alone. However, there are many support groups out there and the ones at Daffodil Place are invaluable in the support they offer to cancer patients staying at that important facility.”