When were you? What happened? How did you feel when you got your Terry Letter?
By: Meredith Hillgartner
See the full story HERE
LUBBOCK, TX- Elizabeth Mata and Samantha Gonzalez's hard work is finally paying off.
The two La Mesa high school seniors have put their blood, sweat and tears into their school work and this week they were rewarded with a full scholarship to Texas Tech, thanks to the Terry Foundation.
What makes the reward sweeter?
The two are best friends.
"I am more than happy to go to Tech," Mata said. "This is where my mom and dad went, so I am excited to kind of follow in their footsteps."
Requirements for the scholarship include: high leadership, scholarship and need.
All of which Mata and Gonzalez fulfill.
They both have outstanding grades, are athletes and are in several clubs at school and in the community.
But they are not the only ones.
This year the Terry Foundation gave Texas Tech scholarships to 32 students around the state.
In its' four years since being started at Tech, the program has awarded 96 scholarships and is a major project of Chancellor Kent Hance, who is friends with the charities founder Howard Terry.
"He originally started off giving it to Texas and Texas A&M," Hance said "So I went to see him about four years ago and said 'Howard you need to help us out.'"
It was a fantastic night. Our first Relay for Life as a Scholars team was a fantastic success. So many Scholars attended, serving not only our group, but as leaders in other groups as well. We could not be prouder of the group - sticking it out through the night, even in the face of a dust storm.
Thank you for all of your heart, creativity - and most of all friendship.
This is a phrase I have heard time and time again throughout my life. My family is one that has been directly affected by cancer in a variety of ways.
My grandmother, Wanda, passed away when I was nine, after battling ovarian cancer for years. I remember going to chemotherapy with her and playing with the puzzles in the lobby for what seemed like forever. I didn’t understand at the age of seven really what cancer was, or how hard she was fighting. I was one of two grandchildren she had, and her only granddaughter. To her, I was the apple of her eye. She always told my mom that she would stick around to help “raise that baby” in her typical Southern drawl. Finally, she stopped chemo when the doctors told her she was terminal and decided to spend her last years happy with her family, instead of fighting and feeling sick everyday.
My “Aunt Betty” is another woman who lost her battle to cancer a few years ago. I only had a few precious years to spend with her, but the effects that her passing had on my dad’s family was enormous. Betty Lou was the matriarch of the family, and was always the one that kept everyone in line with a smile on her face. Her children and grandchildren adored her, and to me, she was the grandma that I never got to have.
Lastly, my dad is a survivor. In the cancer world, we don’t ever say that someone is cured of cancer, simply because they aren’t. The fear of the disease returning is on everyone’s minds, and a chill runs up your spine at the thought of it. Dad has been in remission for a while now, after battling leukemia and receiving radiation, chemotherapy and finally a bone marrow transplant. In his room is a coat rack, of all of his hats he wore when his hair disappeared. My favorite one is a ball cap with a fake mullet on the back, and the cap reads “CANCER SUCKS”. He has several others, but that one is the one that accurately describes his personality.
Cancer affects everyone. Ovarian cancer, like my grandma had, is known to run in the family. The thought of getting cancer later in life is one that haunts us. However, we’ve been through a lot together. We are fighters and survivors. The ability to do Relay for Life is one way that we can fight together, no matter what type of cancer. “Cancer sucks”, but in doing Relay, we have a way to fight back just as hard.
-Gracen Daniel, '13 Scholar
On 11/12/13 my Father’s biopsy came back positive for tongue cancer that had spread to many lymph nodes in the neck; further evaluation determined surgery was not an option. Fortunately the cancer had not spread to his lungs or bones although the lymph nodes closest to the lung have cancer in them.
He decided to get treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, (after what seemed like forever waiting for appointments!) but later decided to go through with radiation at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Because he has one kidney and a long history with diabetes, treatment became complicated because traditional chemotherapy for this cancer harms the kidney.
The treatment plan includes 3 initial chemotherapy treatments over 9 weeks (starting 12/31/13), then 6-7 weeks of combination chemotherapy and radiation (starting around the beginning of Mar 2014).
Today we started the chemo and found his blood count was really low (no wonder he was dragging around so much!), so he is getting a blood transfusion with his chemo.
Friends have been so wonderful in helping Joe keep his new business with LegalShield going, and others have helped with getting him where he needs to go when he has not been able to drive.
Conner Atnip, '13 Scholar
Cancer affects many individuals, in a multitude of ways. It is a ruthless disease that takes the lives of many who are not fortunate enough to survive. I have personally been affected by cancer through my best friend, Kendra. Kendra passed away in July of 2012 after a long 3 year battle with ovarian cancer. She had cancer a total of three times. Although Kendra may not be here, the memory of her lives on. In honor of both those who have won and lost their battles, I hope, through a combined effort, one day cancer will no longer exist. In the words of Winston Churchill we must “never, never, never give up.”
-Vincent Shoup, '13 Scholar
Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay For Life movement.
Many moments create the unique Relay experience. Event details vary by location, but all events have key moments in common:
During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by the other participants who line the track. Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give time, love, and support to their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers facing cancer.
Relay For Life participants and donors remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those battling the disease by dedicating luminaria bags.
Fight Back Ceremony
This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.