Quabog Relay For Life – Honorary Chair – Survivor Speaker – MY NOTES

 I am honored to be the Honorary Chair of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Quabog Valley in Belchertown, MA.  Here are my notes for my speech from last night.  🙂


Relay is about a community that takes up the fight – the fight against cancer.   

This is my community – and I want to thank you all for being here and taking up the fight, the fight against this terrible disease that affects so many and raising the dollars for the advancements in cancer research that make the treatments possible for so many like me to survive cancer.   

I have been fighting for this disease as staff for the American Cancer Society for more than 15 years, but never knew what all this really meant until last year — it was at this Relay — I was taking photos of the teams, the survivor lap, the smiling faces of all of you walking the track — fighting cancer in our community.  

Then that next week that in Dr. Levheim’s office just around the corner from here —  she told us that it looks like I have cancer.  I was hearing those words “YOU HAVE CANCER”.  We left the office armed with appointments, doctor recommendations, insurance follow up, and onward, fighting like so many stories I had heard from cancer survivors at Relay.  It was scary, no fun at all to say the least.  After going to Mass General for a specialist opinion and Cooley Dickinson for my PET scan we had a diagnosis and a plan.  We were going to fight this thing – stage 4 diffuse large B cell lymphoma – and the prognosis was good.  4 months of chemo, 3 trips to Boston – a nasty treatment of methatrexate….. Lost my hair, decided to go blonde, endured the drugs, the side effects making the most out of each and every day…. .    The PET scan in November showed something more and the docs said the best route was to remove my spleen.  If I don’t need it – take it!   The whole thing really did slow me down mind you…. But I still ran the Chicago marathon in October (2/3 through treatment) and then Boston (6 weeks after spleen removal)…  looking back it sounds like a whirl wind!  My friends called me Wonder Woman and I have the photos of me in costume!

“No one can hold you back from doing all the things you want to do.  Just keep your goals in sight, listen to your body and take one day at a time.  Some days will be better than others, but every day is a blessing. – so make each day the best it can be. “ 
Now – it hasn’t been a year yet, but no cancer is showing on my latest scans
Time to celebrate life – I am here to celebrate with all of you…
Celebrate with my caregivers – my amazing sweet husband, my fun loving active 10 year old son, riding motorcycles with our son Stephen & Samantha now living in Boston
It IS all about HOPE… and once you have HOPE 
you can share HOPE and if you inspire others, they can in turn inspire you.” 

Let’s Relay!  

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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