Enquirer Herald

Cancer survivor to mark victory at April 19 Relay

It was August 1998 when a doctor told Nancy Latham she had breast caer.

Of all the things that could have gone through her mind, she thought of her two daughters in college.

"If I should die, who will pray for my girls every day?" she asked herself.

And then she prepared for a battle.

"After I got over that initial shock, I just dealt with what I needed to deal with," she said.

On April 19, she'll celebrate her victory during the Western York County Relay for Life at York Comprehensive High School. The relay is a 12-hour fundraising event used to support the American Cancer Society and awareness about the disease. So far, 31 teams have signed up to participate. Latham will walk with a group of survivors as proof that cancer can be beat.

For Latham, a Sharon resident and board member for the York school district, recovery started with four chemotherapy treatments in Charlotte, followed by 30 radiation treatments that lasted through February 1999.

The chemo treatments were spaced three weeks apart. On those Fridays, Latham work for about two hours in the morning and then drive to the hospital in Charlotte. They gave her medicine before the treatments that was supposed to tell her brain her stomach wasn't really nauseous. Then she'd drive home and go straight to bed.

For the first week after the treatment, Latham took pills every 12 hours. The fatigue she felt was almost overbearing.

"Some days I just felt like I couldn't put a foot in front of me," she said.

After 5 years, her doctor said she was fine.

"It was a relief," she said. "I was glad to have gotten that far."

She still goes for a checkup with her local doctor every six months to make sure the cancer doesn't come back.

Latham was involved with Relay for Life before she was diagnosed. The death of two aunts and the battles she saw friends and neighbors have with it, provided plenty incentive.

But now she participates with a personal sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

"It's just a very touching moment for me when they call out the names of the survivor and when you can step up to the microphone and say the years that you survived," Latham said. "It makes you realize how fortunate you are that you have this fantastic gift of life. Some people didn't get to stand up there and say that they survived."

For more information on Relay for Life, call Beth Dover at 684-7135 or 372-4572.

Donations can be mailed to:

Western York County Relay for Life, Amanda Wilson, American Cancer Society,128 Stonemark Lane, Columbia, SC 29210.