Pueblo cancer survivor prepares for annual Relay For Life

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Cancer survivor Aimee Flores was devastated by her diagnosis in 2019. She immediately feared her family could lose another loved one to the dreaded disease.

Flores’ niece was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. The toddler died in 2016.

“I freaked out. I thought, ‘This won’t happen to my family again,'” she said, recalling when she was told her tumor was rectal cancer. felt sick on and off for a year, but cancer was the last thing on my mind.”

She and her husband, Damian, had just helped their son, Kaden, pack for college and her daughter, Paige, was still in high school. Within a month, Flores was undergoing radiation therapy five days a week and taking oral chemotherapy pills.

“Radiation was by far the harshest and caused the most long-term damage,” she said. “The first four and a half months were the most trying.

“Some days I had no appetite, some days I was hungry and had to be very careful what I ate. Some days I was so tired that I didn’t feel like eating at all. to eat.”

But the treatments and the grueling symptoms weren’t the worst part of the experience: Missing some of the fundraisers, band concerts, soccer games and other events she always attended as a show of support. for his children.

Damian often took his place at these events. His message to her was simple: he told her, “It is what it is and we will figure it out and get through it,” she recalls. She said that message helped solidify her resolve.

After the tumor shrank, Flores underwent surgery to remove it and an ileostomy was performed to allow intestinal waste to exit his body. After that, intravenous chemotherapy began.

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In 2020, she was given the green light from cancer, the ileostomy was reversed and everyone rejoiced.

“A year later, during my routine checkup, they found a missed stitch that had spread to my liver,” she recalls. “They had to remove 33% of my liver and I had to start all over again.”

As she was undergoing chemotherapy, she said her body gave her the message “enough is enough”, so her doctor agreed to put a hold on treatment. In July 2021, she was given the green light again and has now gone through a full year with clean scans.

A bittersweet moment

Last September, Flores was named an honorary survivor of the Pueblo Relay For Life. It was a position she never imagined she would hold. She and her daughter, Paige, have attended the event to support the organization since 2010, when Paige was in elementary school.

“My daughter and I have been doing this every year since she was 6, and she’s 18 now. I dropped her off on (August 14) at the University of Kansas, so this will be the first relay that she won’t be here with me,” Flores said.

“It’s bittersweet how much it touches home,” she said, choking back tears. “The relay is huge for me.” “Cancer won’t stop, and neither will we,”

Judy Schill

Pueblo Relay for Life is scheduled for September 10

This year, the 25th Pueblo Relay For Life is scheduled for 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, from the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 1615 S. Prairie Ave. The event raises funds for the American Cancer Society.

“The COVID pandemic has presented many challenges for our event,” said Judy Schill, Co-Event Manager. “We chose to have a virtual relay in 2020 and a much smaller hybrid event in 2021, so our ability to fundraise suffered. The money that was raised for programs, services and research has gone down.”

So far, over $41,000 in pledges have been raised to reach the Relay’s goal of $60,000 this year.

This year’s event will feature a walk down memory lane with a video paying tribute to its 25-year history. Lights will be lit at nightfall so that the participants of the relay share a moment of emotion.

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The luminaries are sold by donation and can honor a deceased loved one, someone currently facing cancer or anyone who has overcome it. Attendees are requested to wear purple for the event.

“We are grateful to be able to meet in person this year. The cancer won’t stop, and neither will we,” Schill said.

Pre-registration is required to participate in the event. To register, go to www.relayforlife.org/puebloco.

For more details, contact Jessica Wright at [email protected]

Tracy Harmon, Chief Reporter, covers business news. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.

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