You need help to fight cancer

McLaughlin in Relay for Life

When Linda McLaughlin circles the Davidson Centre track during the Relay for Life, sheÆll be surrounded by her friends and family - just as sheÆs been throughout her fight with breast cancer.
McLaughlin was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2006. This May, she had a final surgery and has officially beaten the disease.

"I feel good," she says. "Once you've been in the land of cancer, it changes you. You have to face death, so you evaluate whatÆs truly important to you."

For McLaughlin, the most important thing in her life became friends and family. She relied on her husband, Doug, and her sons Travis and Trevor for support throughout her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

"You don't do this alone," she says. "You need support. Don't be afraid to ask. People are there and they want to help."
McLaughlin also says learning about the disease is a key to living with it. She did research, spoke with the local cancer society and received encouraging phone calls from other Kincardine survivors. She says surviving the disease has brought her family closer together and changed her outlook on life.

"Now I'm trying to be more positive. DonÆt sweat the small stuff," she says. "I don't have time for negativity."
The first major milestone in McLaughlinÆs recovery occurred a year after her diagnosis. Her son Trevor was getting married in Edmonton. McLaughlin wanted to be well enough to attend. She made it to the wedding and says the day became a joint celebration of the marriage and her improving health.

"(Cancer) is jarring," she says. "But, there is light at the end of the tunnel."

McLaughlin will join Kincardine's other cancer survivors for the survivor's lap Aug. 15 that kicks off the annual Relay of Life. SheÆs also entered a team in the event and is one of the Relay's top supporters.

"It's an excellent way to give back," she says. "Everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another."
Last year, more than 40 teams took part in the relay; making it Kincardine's biggest to date. Just 32 teams have registered this year and organizers are hoping for 50 teams to participate. McLaughlin urges everyone to contribute to the event in some way, whether they create a team, provide donations or sponsor an existing team.

"It a good evening," she says.

Kincardine's relay for life kicks off Aug. 15 with the survivors lap at 7 p.m. It ends Aug. 16 at 7 a.m. In addition to walking, people can also purchase luminaries from the Scotiabank for $5. The candles will be lit at dusk and the lighting ceremony is one of the event's annual highlights.