Relay Celebrates All Who Have Been Affected by Cancer
Relay for Life Twinsburg-Nordonia honored all who have battled cancer in some way
Six-year-old Makayla Corrigan has one word she hates: Cancer.
In November Makayla was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood cells and bone marrow. According to the National Cancer Institute, it’s the most common type of cancer in children.
However, you wouldn't know Makayla had it.
Despite the hat that covers her thin head of hair, it’s not very apparent that Makayla even has the disease. The way she sprinted around the track at Friday's Relay for Life, she seemed like a typical, excited and joyful child.
“She’s the happiest girl," Noelle Corrigan, Makayla's mother, said. "If she had a different personality it might be harder, but she’s actually been really easy.”
Makayla and others like her celebrated life at the 12th annual Relay for Life Twinsburg-Nordonia at Twinsburg Tigers Stadium Friday night. Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser of the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS has invested over $3 billion in cancer research since 1946.
Noelle and her husband Tim have been really happy about the way Makayla has responded to her cancer treatment.
“She just went through six months of heavy treatment and since about a month ago it’s just light-maintenance treatment,” Noelle said. “She’s doing really good. She’s doing awesome.”
Makayla still has a year-and-a-half of treatment left but her family is feeling optimistic.
“We’ve had our emotional times, but she’s been good,” Noelle said. “She’s got a really good prognosis.”
This was the first Relay for the Gettysburg Drive family, but not for 68-year-old Juanita Floyd from Medina.
“It’s a celebration of my survivorship,” Floyd said.
Floyd has gone through two bouts with skin cancer in the past 30 years and lost “many family members” to cancer. She goes to several area Relays to help raise money for cancer research so that others might not have to go through what she has.
“We like to travel around and see some of the different Relays and participate in theirs,” Floyd said.
Sometimes helping others is as as simple as warning people about sun damage. Floyd has had skin cancer on her arm and leg and is currently getting a few areas checked out by a dermatologist.
“I like to make sure my family uses sunscreen,” Floyd said.
For the Corrigan famly, although it was their first Relay, it won't be their last.
Noelle said this was a brand-new experience for her as she had never known anyone who’s had cancer, and this Relay was a big event for her.
“It’s very special to me,” Noelle said. “She has a good spirit but it took her whole kindergarten away from her. I want to do something good and so do all of my friends.”
Even dealing with such a difficult disease, Makayla's terrific outlook on things have made the situation easier and even surprised some people.
“She’s had times where she went in for treatment and even the doctors were like, “Really?” Noelle said. “They were really impressed with her. She’s handled it better than most.”
Dealing with Makayla’s disease has been made much easier by a supportive group of family and friends who have been with them through it all, helping with meals and other things.
“They were there for anything we needed,” Noelle said. “That alone is all you need.”