Relay for Life Has Extra Meaning for Two Friends

Burlington, Vermont - Relay for Life kicks off at the Champlain Valley Expo, Saturday at noon. Hundreds of cancer survivors take part in this event.

Many people work hard to organize the event, such as Jennifer Clark and Kathi Dwyer.

Jen and Kathi have lots of reasons to smile. A big reason?  They're both breast cancer free.  This year marks one decade since both of them we're diagnosed.

"It wasn't in my family or anything like that so I was the first one. I had a year-long treatment, I had one drug weekly for a year," says Kathi, a volunteer and member of the Relay for Life committee.
Jen is the Community Manager for Relay for Life at the American Cancer Society.

"I am the first person in my family to be diagnosed with cancer.  I had no eyelashes, no eyebrows, you get to that point where you're looking like the cancer patient and you don't want to look like that," says Jen.  "You don't want people to look at you and say 'oh my god, she must have cancer."

Jen and Kathi, along with thousands of others walk to find a cure each year at Relay for Life of Chittenden County. It’s the American Cancer Society's largest fundraiser.

"We can take our adventure, as I like to call it, and use it to teach other people because I think cancer has a new face and we are the new face.” says Kathi. “We're the ones who go through treatment, we're the ones who continue our lives day in and day out like it always was."

Both Kathi and Jen say every year, one of the best parts for them about Relay is meeting other survivors and their loved ones. They say everyone has a story.

"There aren't people that always survive cancer, but there are so many more people that survive it than there used to be, so by us walking in that lap, or us telling our stories, we're giving hope to someone who's newly diagnosed or someone who hasn't been diagnosed yet." says Jen.

This will be the 26th year for Chittenden County’s Relay for Life. Needless to say, Jen and Kathi will be celebrating, remembering, and fighting back for one-another for years to come.

Relay for Life ends at midnight Saturday morning.  Local 22/Local 44 News is a proud sponsor.  


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