Family is proof that cancer knows no boundaries

Diane
Diane Crocker
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Cancer survivors Linda Avery, left, her husband Clyde, and his sister Vera Bennett walked in the victory lap at the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Margaret Bowater Park in Corner Brook on Saturday.

Moncton woman joins brother and sister-in-law at Corner Brook Relay for Life

CORNER BROOK  Vera Bennett hadn’t planned on getting involved in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in Corner Brook on Saturday.

But as the Moncton, N.B. woman made her way around the track as a survivor in the opening victory lap at Margaret Bowater Park she said she was filled with emotion.

“It meant a lot to be part of that and to be with them today,” she said. The them she was referring to were her brother Clyde Avery and his wife Linda.

All three are cancer survivors.

“I never thought that would happen, but it’s wonderful,” said Bennett.

The 12-hour relay was held under sunny skies in the park and besides the survivors, 24 teams made their way around the track throughout the day. By Saturday night more than $37,000 was raised, but the society expected that number to increase as donations continue to come in.

Bennett is a 35-year survivor of breast cancer. She and husband Tom moved to Moncton about a year ago after having spent 49 years in Labrador City. She had taken part in and volunteered in relay events in Labrador City over the years.

“So I wanted to come out today, show my support as well.”

To do that she decided to accompany Clyde and Linda to the relay. It was at the registration earlier Saturday morning that Bennett mentioned she was also a survivor. After that her name was added to the list of survivors read out during the victory lap.

“I didn’t realize that I would be part of it, but I’m happy to be,” she said.

When asked what the relay means to her, Bennett said “I guess we’re all fighting for a cure and if we can make a difference that’s very important.”

Having his sister in the victory lap with him was something that Clyde, a seven-year prostate cancer survivor, said felt good.

“But it struck home how cancer, you know, it knows no boundaries. With my wife, and my sister and my self, my grandson and other family members with cancer.”

Looking at the group of survivors was both disheartening and exhilarating for the Corner Brook man who said he was surprised at the number of young people in the group. But, he said, seeing all the survivors was good.

“Everybody beating it and doing the best they can.”

He said the relay has become somewhat of a fellowship for him and connecting with other survivors has meant a lot to him.Getting to see some of them among the group again this year left him feeling contented. “When you see that familiar face,” he said with a smile on his own.

“We’re together in this, we’ve got to beat this, you know we can beat.”

Linda, a four-year kidney cancer survivor, said it was hard finding herself in the role of patient after supporting Clyde in his battle.

“But I knew I had him there to help me through everything,” she said.

“It was something you had to do,” adds Clyde. “She needed support, help, encouragement and the whole thing that goes with trying to beat this disease.”

Linda said she and her husband started attending the relay four years ago. “We just decided that it was time, that we wanted to get involved,” she said.

By then cancer had not only touched the couple but also their grandson Ryan Avery. Now seven, Ryan is a leukemia survivor.

Organizations: Corner Brook Relay for Life, Canadian Cancer Society

Geographic location: Moncton, Corner Brook, Labrador Margaret Bowater Park

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  • Kathleen Fillmore
    September 09, 2013 - 07:51

    This is a wonderful story and my heart goes out to all these survivors.

  • Kathleen Fillmore
    September 09, 2013 - 07:50

    This is a wonderful story and my heart goes out to all these survivors.