Help, hope, courage
Cancer survivor readiesfor Imlay's Relay for Life
May 30, 2007DRYDEN — There was the usual chemotherapy, radiation, medication and coupled with community support and her amazing attitude, Carol English has conquered cancer.
The 51-year-old survivor will take part in her first local Relay for Life event next weekend at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds in Imlay City.
"It isn't any fun, but you've just got to keep going," Carol said of her fight against breast cancer which began in 2002.
That no-nonsense conviction made her into a vocal patient.
Well-known in the community as a longtime preschool teacher, everyone was concerned for her well being but didn't always know how to ask.
"I'd say 'Ask me whatever you want. If it can help somebody else...'" she recalls.
"The support system from everyone was wonderful."
That system included the families of her students, who prepared meals for Carol and her husband Richard while she was receiving treatment. Daily encouragement came in the form of countless get-well cards from family, friends and former students.
"People still ask me to this day 'how are you doing?'" she said.
Special treats including a breast cancer survivor spa day at Schenden's Spa in Lake Orion were uplifting too.
Carol's cancer was caught relatively early. She had a lumpectomy, received 30 days of radiation and a couple months of chemotherapy.
The treatment was rather easy, Carol said, until it came time to have a port inserted for drug therapy.
"It was the worse thing ever in my life," she said of the pain that far surpassed childbirth.
But through it all, her family was by her side, including all her chemotherapy treatments. The Englishes have two daughters, one son and seven grandchildren.
This won't be Carol's first Relay for Life. Since her grandson and daughter formed their own team for a Relay in Chicago, she's joined them. She'll do the same this year, a week after the June 9 relay in Imlay City.
She's already given her time on the relay's sponsorship committee.
"We've been all over soliciting donations," she said.
Carol's cancer appears to be cured and she'll continue taking Arimidex for another year.
Her advice for fellow cancer patients is simple.
"Live life to the best—that's all you can do," she said.
The Relay for Life kicks off at 10 a.m. on June 9 at the fairgrounds. Anyone wanting more information about the event, fundraising or participating can contact the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division, at (810) 733-3702 or toll free at (800) 513-9930.