1991, the year that the American Cancer Society changed my life. It was that spring when my dad and a family friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Their lives paralleled one another almost to a tee. Both men were seen and treated by the same staff, given the same surgery and treatments on the same days, but there was one difference. An experimental medication that was researched and supported by ACS. One chose to take that shot, the other didn’t. On August 24th, my dad walked me down the aisle at my wedding and our friend…passed away. I believe that shot, once a month was the pivoting component. Giving us 31 additional years with my dad.
It was that year also when I found a sign on the side street announcing a Relay For Life. I attended to witness the glow of the luminarias and the mass of people standing in vigilance of the ones they celebrated and remembered. That moment I have never regretted! Relay For Life has taught me a lot over the years. It has given me an opportunity to create great friendships, hone in on my fundraising skills and become a voice for those needing the opportunities not already found.
In 2007, when my own health was off, I leaned on the information that I had learned as a volunteer. Be your own advocate! Going to several physicians without an answer, I requested a CA-125. A simple blood draw. Learning it wasn’t covered by my insurance, I paid the out-of-pocket cost for the, the test was performed. The results enlightened my doctors to perform additional testing which led to my diagnosis of Uterine Cancer, stage 1B. I was 38. After a year of attempts to rid the cancer, it ended with a total hysterectomy.
I am thankful for the American Cancer Society, because without them, I don’t know if today would have been possible.
My name is Diane Denoyer. I live in Traverse City, Michigan with my husband Steve. We have two grown daughters. When I am not volunteering, I enjoy crafting and visiting with friends.