As many of you know, this year, AAT is proud to have partnered with some great businesses/organizations (pictured below) to bring you the content many of you have grown to love and appreciate on this site. One of our amazing associates is Elko’s branch of the Relay for Life organization. Currently, the dedicated men and women who make this event possible are working hard to plan for and establish the details for 2019’s campaign. Therefore, because Relay for Life does so many things to help people facing such a disheartening hardship, I (Anthony Crosby) wanted to put the group on your radar so that you and your family might consider getting involved next year.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Relay for Life, the event stems from The American Cancer Society which is a nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a significant health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from the disease, through research, education, advocacy, and service. Now, cancer is something that has affected many individual’s stories, either directly or indirectly through a friend, family member, or loved one. Therefore, since we’re all about discussing people’s stories here at AAT, we’d thought we’d welcome back someone to explain how the illness has impacted his life. Today, we’re thankful to have Elko County Commissioner, Delmo Andreozzi, here with us once more. Delmo spoke with us in April; you can read his full feature here (Delmo Andreozzi: Elko County Commissioner ) However, this time we’re going to talk with him about one specific part of his journey- the unfortunate loss of his sister, Charlotte Irene (Andreozzi) Roundtree (pictured in this article’s featured image), to a rare, super aggressive form of leukemia.
Thank you for opening your life to us, once again, Delmo; we appreciate it. Could you please share with us how cancer has personally shaped your life?
“Unfortunately, cancer is one of those words you never want to hear. It’s a non-discriminatory disease; there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason for who or where it attacks. It sneaks up on you. The longer I live, the more people I know who are affected by this disease, one way or another. I would venture to guess that every person you talk to has been treated themselves or knows somebody that has had cancer; it’s that prolific. It’s been several years since my sister passed away, but I’ll never forget the voicemail she left me on the phone. I was in Twin Falls, Idaho with my family attending a swim meet, and I got back to my phone to a message saying she was being flown out of Elko because they think she has leukemia. I could tell how serious she was in her voice. She was flown out to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. That night, when we got home from Twin Falls, my wife and I got in the car and drove there under the biggest moon I had ever seen. It was an emotional rollercoaster as my sister only lived thirty-one days after she was diagnosed.”
“We prayed as nobody had ever prayed before; I knew with every fiber of my being that she was going to live. She didn’t. Everyone deals with situations like that differently. For me, I had this sibling guilt about it. I wondered why it had happened to her and not me. I went through a phase of depression and being upset with God. However, I had to go on this journey of getting to a point where I could be thankful for the thirty-one years, I had with her. We had such an amazing relationship, and I’m thankful we had that. When I look back at my sister’s case, she may have been a pioneer for what the research and treatments are these days, so when I meet cancer survivors, I’m legitimately happy!”
Thank you, Delmo. As someone speaking from some authentic/personal experiences, how would you encourage someone who may be currently going through the heartache of it all?
“However you’re feeling, that’s okay. We all have to process it in our own ways. I would tell them they are absolutely loved and supported by me, family, and friends. We are on this journey together because sometimes you just feel so alone, especially in a rural area like Elko. We have so few treatment options here that, like in my sister’s case, someone has to be taken to another city for care where there’s nothing that’s familiar. They may be removed from their family and everything. When my sister left for Salt Lake, she never made it back. It can be challenging, but, again, it is okay to feel the way you’re feeling.”
Delmo, what about someone reading this who may not personally have a close loved one battling cancer? How can they best support someone who is hurting; they may be wondering how to do so without being too overbearing or too distant because they innocently may not know how to respond.
“What I try to do is stop right then and there and literally say a prayer for that person. Sometimes, it’s just a simple hello or touch on the shoulder. It could also look like sending a card just to let the person know you’re thinking about them; I think the world could use a lot more of that.”
Your words are much appreciated, Delmo; thank you, again. Finally, we’re also here to promote some awareness for Elko’s Relay for Life event. Do you have any experiences being involved with the American Cancer Society?
“I was involved with the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life for a long time, and my sister was actually a part of it way before I was; she was a very popular checker at Albertsons and started root beer float fundraisers for the organization! The people behind it put a lot of work, energy, and effort into putting it on. I never wanted to focus as much on the fundraising aspect of it per se, the funds are important and have their place, but for me, the high point was walking that track in honor and remembrance of my sister and all the people who have gone before, during, and since, and celebrating those who were surviving. There’s a sense of community in it all, and that’s part of the healing process. It was a place for me to go to release and remember. As I mentioned before, I had a lot of “sibling remorse” after my sister passed, so I had to say to myself that it was ok; that’s what God’s plan was.”
This flyer is from the movement’s 2018 event; if you’re interested in learning more about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, give it a read and/or stop by their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/elkorelayforlife/ AAT will provide more details as the 2019 event approaches!
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See you around, Elko!