I've been involved with the Relay for Life for the past 9 years. I started a team called "Light Your World" and in those 9 years, I, personally have raised $7500 for the American Cancer Society through yearly donations from wonderful family and friends! That's an average of $834/year. What a blessing!
An this year I raised my highest ever with a total of $1380! And that is only from 31 people donating! Thank you to all who donated and supported this great cause. Together we can and WILL make a difference!
To learn more about or to donate, click here: Relay for Life
I have lost many family members and friends from cancer and walk yearly in their honor:
my uncle, Gary Cox
my grandpa, Clarence Cox
my grandmother, Diddie Flandrick
my grandfather, Russ Flandrick
my friend, Karla Embrock
my friend, Joel Vasgaard
my friend, Carmen Klatt
my friend, Pat Johnson
I also walk in honor of those who are currently battling and/or are cancer survivors:
Alan Cox, Michael Klumper, Mia Post, Cindy Minske, Connie Versteeg, Sue Rosenau, Jodi Houser, Barb Ripka, Duane Hess, Kelly Tripp, Georgia Taylor, Delores Potter, Christina Van Heel, Pat Vincelli, Sister Mary Nicholas Vincelli, Nicky Schaub, Tiffany Eckerson and many others
I wrote a letter about my father in July of 2007 to display at "Inspiration Point" at the Relay for Life. And I wanted to share it again because my uncle, Gary Cox, passed away 54 years ago TODAY, on July 21st, 1960. I often wonder how different all our lives would have been with him around. From what other say about him, he was a handsome, talented, incredible, and well loved man. I wish I could have known him. But we trust in God's plan and Gary's legacy lives on through his 2 siblings, his wife and 3 children. And now also grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The following is my letter (with a few updates/revisions) that I wrote back in 2007:
My father, Alan Cox, is a cancer survivor. But my dad is more than a survivor. He is my dad…my hero…my love! Here is just a bit of his story told through me, his daughter who admires him more than he will ever know.
It was 38 years ago, back in 1976, and my dad was 27 years old at the time. He had been married just one year and found out he had testicular cancer and had surgery to remove the cancer. The doctors also wanted to remove lymph nodes that, as a result, would cause him to be infertile. After lots of prayers, my father decided against it. He let go, and let God. He trusted completely that what was to happen would happen and God’s Will would be done.
Previously, my father’s brother, Gary, had testicular cancer. Gary was married with 3 young children, the youngest being just a few months old. Gary lost his battle with cancer and went on to be with his Savior at the young age of 24. My uncle, Gary passed away 54 years ago on July 21, 1960. And the Steele County Relay for Life is always held around this exact time in July!
I can’t imagine what was going on in my father’s mind of what the future was to hold for him. Especially after he, an 11 year old, watched his own brother lose the battle to testicular cancer, the very same cancer he now had. If my dad would have had the extra surgery, he would not have been able to have children. And I would not be here today. That one decision truly affected his life in many tremendous ways. He went on to have four children – all girls! And he is now a grandfather to 8 beautiful grandchildren (5 girls and 3 boys)! My dad says that is not the reason he decided against the extra surgery, but I am sure glad that God lead him to that difficult decision. I sometimes wonder, what if I had cancer? Would I be able trust God completely just as my father did? I believe I would because of what my father has spent his whole life teaching me through his words and actions!
When I think about how my father is a cancer survivor and how I was born 4 short years later, I am reminded of God’s true power. He works miracles everyday, even in the simplest of ways when we do not see it happening right in front of us! I count my blessings and thank God that I am able to be alive…able to live, laugh, and love each day. Whenever my time on earth is done, I hope that I have lived a life much the same as my father – full of faith, hope, and love. Always showing and never doubting God’s perfect love.
Often, I ask my father if he has cancer right now. I worry that if he did have it again, he wouldn't tell anyone because he wouldn't want to worry anyone. He’s always more concerned with other’s feelings above his own! But as much as I fear losing my dad, I know that if I did, I would survive. I would live my life looking ahead to the day we would meet again in heaven. And even if I couldn't be with him in person, I always find him close to me in my heart because...
my dad is my heart.
My father is an amazing person. I am thankful God kept my dad around to share himself and his love to the world for many more years! He has truly touched the hearts of everyone he has met. My dad, a quiet and patient man, so full of wisdom and love. He is always a true comfort, knowing the exact thing to say in any and every occasion of life. As a faithful Christian dedicated to his family and his Savior, he is truly my inspiration, Thank you, dad, for all you do and all you are. Thank you for teaching me what life is all about. I LOVE YOU!
May my dad’s story bring you hope, peace, and joy. Hope to know that God holds you in His hands. Peace to trust that everything happens for a reason. And joy to remind you that one day you will be together with your loved ones for eternity in heaven.
In the words of my dad, "Count Your Blessings!"
"Onward & Upward!"
I love you dad!
All my love, Amy