She does ‘this’ because she can

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 21, 2000

Features Editor

Five years ago, Nedetria Talbot participated in her first Relay for Life event and, from that moment on, she has never been too tired or too overwhelmed to be a warrior in the fight against cancer.

Why had she not joined the American Cancer Society’s fight sooner? Surely there were reasons why she should.

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In 1967, her mother had terminal cancer. She was not supposed to overcome the disease, but with God’s healing touch, a great medical team and people who loved her, she did.

In 1984, Talbot, herself, was diagnosed with cancer. With early diagnosis , God’s loving hand, a knowledgeable and caring medical staff and the support of her family and friends, she, too, won the battle against this deadly disease.

In 1987, she lost her father to lymphoma after a six year battle with the disease.

And, in 1995, her husband’s aunt was lost to cancer. Then came a cancer diagnosis for a dear friend. He lost his battle in March, 1995, the same month Talbot’s brother was diagnosed with the disease.

Why then was Relay 1995, her first experience with an American Cancer Society fund raising event?

"Because I didn’t really understand what the fund raising was all about," she said. "The American Cancer Society board here in Pike County had been active for years but 1995 was the first year for Relay here. I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to be there. I felt such a strong need to be there that I went by myself. I believe God put me there that night."

Talbot knew the American Cancer Society supported cancer research but she didn’t know that it was the fight of the people – a grassroots fight. She didn’t know that she could be a part of that. She didn’t know she could make a difference. She didn’t know she could be a part of finding a cure for this deadly disease. But the night of Relay, she learned.

"As I walked the survivors’ lap that night in May, 1995, I was so overcome with emotion," she said. "I had lost Frank’s aunt and our precious friend only months before. As I walked that lap with my mother, once again diagnosed with cancer, and my brother in treatment, I realized how very, very blessed I was."

Later that night, during the luminary service, Talbot made her way around the track and listened to the names of friends and family members who were memorialized and honored. In the flickering candlelight, she made a personal commitment to join the fight against cancer.

Since that night, Talbot has taken a lead in each Relay event. This year, she is serving as chairperson of the Pike County Relay for Life Committee and she’s doing it because she can.

"God, in his mercy, let me recover from my cancer n 1984," she said. "Since that time, I have been blessed so many times. I will admit that sometimes I am tired and sometimes I am overwhelmed but each time I begin to feel that way, I think about that precious person who has lost the battle with this disease or the one who is fighting the battle and they are placed on my mind and in my heart. Then I am no longer too tired or too overwhelmed."

Talbot lost both her mother and brother to cancer in late 1995 but she knows that many battles have been won.

"Great strides are being made daily in cancer research and cures are being found," she said. "This is possible because so many people, all across our county and all across our country, give of their time and their talents to raise money for research, for education and for patient services through the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life."

And why do people do this?

"Because they love others and hate suffering," Talbot said. "They do this so that the next generation might be cancer free. And, I know they do it because, just like me, they have lost a mother, a daddy, a brother or sister, a family member or a friend to cancer. We all do it because we care – and because we can."