OP-ED: Cancer Survivor Encourages Watertown to Come Out to the Relay for Life

Heather Hoiseth will walk the Survivor Lap on June 8 when the Relay of Life comes to Victory Field.


Have you ever wondered if one lap around the track at Victory Field could change your life? 

Well, I never thought it could, until 6 years ago when I took that first lap, the Relay For Life Survivor Lap! 

I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in March of 2006 and had my thyroid removed May 17, 2006. Between diagnosis and surgery, I waited and struggled with knowing I had cancer and trying to get through each day, to survive! A dear friend of mine, Carolyn Tolman was involved in Relay For Life and called asking if she could sign me up for the Survivor lap at June's upcoming Relay. I said yes, not knowing how much it would change my life. 

The thought of knowing I would walk that lap gave me strength and so much hope that there was light at the end of my dark tunnel. I looked forward to that night and a few weeks after my surgery, I donned my purple survivor shirt, and took the track with many others, it was a "sea of purple," all of us surviving our way through a dreadful illness that knows no bounds. I walk that lap, and only that lap for I was so tired, but what a victory lap that was!! I cried as I saw my husband and my son's faces, my mother's proud smile, and friends, acquaintances, and strangers, lined up around the track, clapping and yelling and cheering!! A victory indeed...I was a survivor in every sense of the word and I was going to make it one step at a time....one lap at a time! 

So, who would have thought one lap could change a person's life, not me, probably not even Carolyn when she made the call to me, but it did and every time I take that track, I know I am making, I am a SURVIVOR!

So on June 8, come change your life, with a lap, as a survivor celebrate your life, as a caretaker the strength you shared with a loved one, and as a friend lining the track cheering and clapping and giving us all the hope we need to get through one more lap!


Heather Hoiseth 
6 year Cancer Survivor 
Co-chair of Survivorship, Relay For Life Watertown/Waltham


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