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Survivors Banquet is personal for Thomson couple

For one couple, the annual Survivor Banquet, which took place Wednesday night at First United Methodist Church, is so much more than a dinner.

Allen and Gladys Kane have attended every Relay and its preceding Survivor Banquet in Thomson.

"It's the thing that pulls all the community together because cancer touches everybody in some way or another," Gladys said.

"At the banquet, people can look around and know they are not alone," Allen added.

Although he was the director of the dinner in the early years, Allen speaks more from personal experience -- he was diagnosed with melanoma in 1993. The large tumor was surgically removed from his back but returned three years later, and he had to undergo the process all over again.

"It's a tremendous shock when they tell you that you have cancer, believe me," Allen said. "You've got to have faith in God and faith in your doctors. You've got to have both."

As if his own diagnosis wasn't enough, his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few years later. While in the hospital for treatment of pneumonia, doctors discovered Gladys had chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

"With mine, it's in the blood. They can't do surgery for the blood," she said.

That was 10 years ago. And although she has had a few chemotherapy treatments, Gladys said "old age" slows her down more than the leukemia.

"I was just lucky all the way around," she said. "Now life is more precious. After cancer, you appreciate everything more and people more."

Admitting that they still "worry about checkups," the retired couple also said their hobbies keep them busy -- working in the yard, woodworking and reading.

They stay active volunteering in the community and their church, Thomson Presbyterian.

And, of course, they try to help with the Relay For Life as much as they can.

Allen is proud of his years of service as survivor director and captain of the hospital's auxiliary team.

"It was a good experience," he said. "Enough can't be said about that Bob Knox and how hard he works and how devoted he is. ... And every year, standing around the survivor tent, I hear so many stories. It's still a great experience."



Web posted on Thursday, May 12, 2011













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