Relay on the Square
Webster County’s annual Relay for Life heads to downtown Fort Dodge
After taking part in the Survivor’s Lap Saturday morning during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Webster County, Honorary Survivor Duane Amhoff fell into conversation with Christen Sewell in the shade under one of the many trees on the Fort Dodge City Square where the event was held this year.
The two are not strangers.
Sewell manages the Trinity Cancer Center.
Amhoff was a patient there.
“I did the radiation on Duane,” she said.
Amhoff appreciates the availability of treatment in Fort Dodge.
“It’s phenomenal that we have all the resources here,” he said. “We don’t have to go out of town. After my treatments, I was able to go right back to work.”
Sewell was happy to see the Relay turnout, not only from her own team, but also from other teams at Trinity.
She’s also, like most, been touched by cancer.
“My father had lung cancer,” she said. “Fortunately, he only had to have surgery. We did the Relay in Humboldt last year.”
While her dad has since passed away, it wasn’t from cancer.
For Amhoff there’s a long family history.
“My dad has just gone through treatment for bladder cancer,” he said. “He’s now cancer-free, he’s in good shape. There’s been a history in my family. It’s touched us way too much.”
He hopes to see that change with his own recovery.
“Hopefully we’re starting a new trend.” he said.
Having survived cancer himself, Amhoff is much more aware of how common it actually is.
“With cancer, you find out how rampant it is,” he said. “But there’s so much more treatment now. It doesn’t have to be the end — it’s a new beginning.”
Nearby, Emily Johnson, of Fort Dodge, was gathered with members of her family and friends. They had formed a team in support of her grandmother, Jill Lawler, of Fort Dodge who’s battling leukemia. Johnson showed off her muscles and posed for photos with the family shirt, which reads, “Together We Are Stronger.”
Amy Johnson, of Fort Dodge, is Lawler’s daughter.
“She’s doing pretty good,” she said. “We’re waiting for a stem cell transplant.”
She said her mom’s cancer was spotted during a routine physical. She hadn’t been feeling ill.
“Mom went in for a checkup,” Johnson said. “Her bloodwork didn’t look right and they came back and said you have leukemia. It took two months to sink in.”
Emily Johnson was surprised too.
“It came as a surprise for such a healthy grandma.” she said.
Attending the Relay has been a positive experience for the family.
“It makes you feel grateful,” Amy Johnson said. “We’re finding a lot of generous people.”