Volunteer understands value of research

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Messenger Intern

Cancer is a disease that has swept across the United States.

It is safe to say that almost every family has experienced the effects of cancer in one way or another. Mary Hilyer’s family is no different but she has found a way to turn an unfortunate situation into one that is not quite as grim.

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Mary Hilyer, a resident of Troy, has experienced cancer more times than anyone could tolerate.

She has lost her father, sister and brother all to this disease.

If that was not bad enough, a few years ago Hilyer’s husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

It has been a year since Mr. Hilyer’s surgery and as of now there are no signs of cancer returning.

Hilyer made the decision long before her husband’s cancer battle that she wanted to do what she could to help fight cancer.

In the 1970s, Hilyer became the memorial chairman, a position that she still holds to this day.

When someone makes a donation in honor of a person who has lost the battle with cancer, she sends the family of the deceased a card to tell him about the memorial donation.

"This is my way of helping to stop cancer," said Hilyer.

"All of the money that is given as a memorial for someone is then sent to the American Cancer Society to use at their discretion but I believe most of it is used for cancer research.

Research is the most important thing we can be doing for this cause.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if preventative means could be found for cancer?

If my volunteer helps the cause in any way it is well worth the time."

Hilyer has seen a new type of donation arise in the past couple of years.

Brides-to-be are beginning to make donations in honor of the hosts and hostesses that give them wedding parties.

"There have been four or five girls that have made very significant donations instead of spending money on gifts for the hosts and hostesses," Hilyer said. "This is a great way for the brides to show their appreciation to the hosts and hostesses and the money is also used for such a worthy cause."

Anyone who would be interested in making a donation could mail their donation check, made out to the American Cancer Society, and the name of the person who the memorial is for and the name and address of the family of the deceased to Mary Hilyer at 206 Lamar Street in Troy.