Michelle Lucas walks for herself and her mother.
Lucas, of St. Francis, has been cancer-free for about 10 years now. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 11 years ago in August, but it was her mother’s ovarian cancer diagnosis that propelled her and her family to start a team.
The summer after Lucas’ mother died, Lucas’ niece convinced the family to start a team. Since then, Lucas has individually raised thousands of dollars for Isanti County Relay for Life. Her family has seen a lot of struggle with cancer in the past.
“There’s a lot of cancer in my family,” Lucas said. “Both my grandmother and grandfather had cancer. It’s strange that I can barely find anyone these days that has not been touched by cancer in some way.”
The first year she walked, she vividly remembers not participating in the survivor lap.
“Watching my mom go through chemo (therapy) and listening to the other survivors, I didn’t feel like I should be out there,” Lucas said. “I didn’t think I’d suffered as much.”
But she quickly learned that Relay for Life wasn’t about how much you suffered. It was about hoping to never have to replay the moment one finds out they have cancer, she said.
She said having the great support system of her husband, Jim, with family and friends, helped her get by on some of the toughest days of treatment.
As one of the honorary survivors at this year’s Relay for Life event, Lucas said she is truly humbled. Her sister will be speaking on her behalf at the Aug. 8 event.
“They’ve been asking me since I started on the committee six years ago,” Lucas said. “It’s a real honor to be asked to do it.”