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Loss fuels one woman's desire to eradicate cancer

MOOERS - Each year, thousands of people walk in a Relay for Life event in support of the American Cancer Society, and their reasons for walking are many.

Marie Guay has never had cancer, and she considers herself lucky in that respect. However, she does know what it's like to lose a friend and a family member to the disease. Guay has been walking in the annual Plattsburgh Relay for Life since 2005, after learning her friend and boss, Gordon Hurlburt, and her mother, Christine Trombley, were diagnosed with different forms of cancer only four months apart.

"One day, my boss left to go home for lunch and didn't come back. I found out that he had a seizure and the doctors found he had stage four brain cancer," said Guay. "A few months later, my mom got diagnosed with cancer."

In between the time of the two diagnoses, Guay read an article about Relay for Life and contacted local American Cancer Society representative Joan Brown about participating.

"I said I wanted to do Relay with our company in support of Gordon," she said. "I felt it was my way of being able to do something in situation where, otherwise, no one can do anything."

After her mother's diagnosis of ovarian cancer, supporting the Relay for Life had even more meaning for her. It was a chance for her to feel not so helpless in a situation that was out of her control.

"I'm a doer," said Guay. "And, I wanted to fix it. But, you can't. So, this is my way to do something. It makes me feel better to be able to say I'm doing something."

Though Guay eventually lost her mother and her friend to cancer, she continues to walk. She walks in their memory and so that one day, there is a cure.

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