In the coming months we will bring different stories about how Relay For Life has affected and changed the lives of cancer patients. We are excited and very pleased to be able to start our article series with Paige Bowshire from Australia:
In April 2001, Paige’s family was given the devastating news that their petite, happy 8 year old daughter had leukemia. Being so young, Paige was unable to understand exactly what leukaemia was so it was a very scary and confusing time. Paige couldn’t understand why she was sick and wasn’t allowed to play with friends or go to school.
In 2010 (9 years after her initial diagnosis), Paige was then told she had Wilson’s disease, a rare and incurable genetic disorder. The only option to save Paige’s life was a liver transplant which she received in 2010 at the age of 16. Another 11 weeks in hospital receiving treatment, fighting the effects of the disease and recovering from major surgery. It has now been 14 years since Paige received her bone marrow transplant that gave her a second chance at life and 6 years since her liver transplant, giving her again yet another chance at life.
Paige is a strong advocate for Cancer Council and publically shared her story for the first time in her home town of Port Augusta at their Relay For Life event in 2012.
Since then, Paige has travelled to multiple regional communities and now captain’s her own team, inspiring Relayers with her strength, resilience and determination. Paige has lived a life beyond her years and we are so proud of and grateful to Paige and the role she plays in our South Australian Relay family.
What influence has Relay For Life had on your life?
“Relay For life has influenced me majorly in that now I have the confidence in public speaking and being able to tell my story, going as far as 6 places across South Australia” says Paige and continues “It has influenced me to speak about cancer prevention more in my work place and encourage others to join in relay and the fight against cancer. Relay is a basically a part of my life now, no matter what it is I am always doing something for Relay For Life and I love everything about it”
Relay For Life is about a community taking up the fight, and many people make such wonderful friends through these unforgettable experiences. Have you made any friends through your work with Relay For Life?
“I have made lots of friends through Relay”, say Paige fast “Two close friends being staff of the Cancer Council SA, who have been massive supports in offering me o being a part of their own teams at Adelaide Central Relays over the past two years, nominating me and much more” Paige says. “I have also made friends within my local Relay for Life committee and act as a side/ extra help to them all”
Paige has extended her Relay network well beyond her event, as well. And she has made several friends and has shared Cancer Council Australia information to so many more!
What is your favorite part of your Relay For Life events?
“The candle light ceremony that we have here in SA at night time during the relay would mean the most to me because it gives everyone a chance to reflect on their love ones who are battling cancer or those who have lost their fight” Says Paige, and she is not alone on this part. For candle light ceremony is very important for so many participant all over the world.
Relay also gives each of us an opportunity to speak and share their story about cancer to everyone else. Those stories are so inspiring and make us feel inspired about the work that we are doing – and how we’re going about doing it together.