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Do your part to help beat cancer; join the Relay for Life

I have been involved with the Pine River-Backus Area Relay for Life for 22 years and love meeting up with the survivors each year. They are the reason that I continue to do this, and I also do it for my friends who have been diagnosed or have bat...

Betty Swanson, Tina and Teresa Grewe.Submitted Photo
Betty Swanson, Tina and Teresa Grewe.Submitted Photo

I have been involved with the Pine River-Backus Area Relay for Life for 22 years and love meeting up with the survivors each year. They are the reason that I continue to do this, and I also do it for my friends who have been diagnosed or have battled this disease.

One of those friends is Betty Swanson. Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. Nine years later (1996) it was in her left lung, in 2000 it was in her right lung and in 2007 it spread to her liver.

She had lost her sister to cancer early in 2007 and although grieving, she realized that she had to continue to fight this disease with everything that she had and live each day to the fullest.

She met an oncologist and researcher in 2000 who became her physician and Betty had total faith in him and his treatment recommendations. She was in several trials and was on continuous chemo for over seven years.

Her chemo treatment gave her every third week off, so at age 75 she got back in a race car during one of her "off chemo weeks" and drove her son's 1999 Corvette at a drag race track in Florida. Not only was she driving 89 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds, she was beating men in her age bracket. She said the adrenaline rush was indescribable and it made her feel 100 percent healthy.

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Yes, Betty was living each day to its fullest and enjoying her four children, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

I received a text from Betty on March 1, 2016. She was on Hospice. My daughter, Teresa, and I went down to visit Betty March 12 in Maple Grove. It was a beautiful day and a time to share memories and catch up on the people we had worked with at the hospital.

Betty died 12 days later on Holy Thursday. Betty fought this disease for 29 years; the least I can do is to continue the fight for her and raise money to fund more research and clinical trials that allowed Betty to live those 29 years to the fullest.

Do you know a Betty in your life? Would you like to help beat this disease? Please consider putting a team together or come out and support the teams and the survivors on Friday, June 17, at the Pine River-Backus Area High School track.

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