These Divas Are On a Mission to Find a Cure for Cancer
By Kelly Cole
The men and women who have come together to form Divas on a Mission are a determined set of individuals. They want to see a cure for cancer and to end the suffering that has gone on too long for those who are fighting cancer and the family and friends who stand beside them in support.
Katie Franklin is the captain of these Divas and started the Relay for Life group with her sister, Kristie Overfield, who is a survivor. Overfield was diagnosed in January 2011, at 29, with Stage 3 Sarcoma (a soft tissue cancer) and then a few weeks later she was diagnosed with a separate form of cancer, melanoma. She underwent three surgeries between February and March 2011 and then every day for six weeks, she received radiation treatment. This came on the heels of their father being diagnosed with prostrate and bone cancer, which he is still receiving treatment for.
Kristie knows first hand that while going through treatment it seems that there is no quality of life. She wants to “encourage others to fight and let them know that it isn’t the end of the world and there is life after…life becomes a whole lot sweeter.”
Their team is made up of family and friends that have come together to show their support and help raise awareness and funds to go towards cancer research for the American Cancer Society. The Divas will be participating in the Relay for Life in Wyoming County in July 2012. Each of these team members joined, because they have either gone through this with family members or they want to help find a cure. This group is no stranger to how ugly cancer can be and that has motivated them to step forward and help find a cure.
Jane Overfield is the mother of Kristie and Katie and no stranger to cancer. She has stood by and watched as her husband, Larry, continues to receive treatment and was there as her mother battled throat cancer.
Elaine Helvig is a friend of Kristie’s and her mother had breast cancer and her mother-in-law battled ovarian cancer. Jessica Root’s aunt had breast cancer and leukemia. Jayme Ward’s mother was diagnosed with squamous. Heather Ramey’s mother just lost her battle with cervical and uterine cancer. April Cruz-Brewer’s grandmother is survivor of breast cancer and she has other family members who have battled cancer. Sonia Hegedty has had family members who have had various cancers and she happens to be Kristie’s best friend of 21 years.
Fred Baker, III stands beside Kristie to fight for a cure. Josh Franklin lost an aunt to cancer and also was a member for eight years of Ace Robbins’ Relay for Life team. Karen Burton’s mother beat uterine cancer, but her father lost his battle with cancer. Micheal Dubois lost her grandparents and was there as her mother-in-law lost her battle in October. Emily Hoffman is Kristie’s cousin and never thought this disease would come so close to her. Christine Thompson and Tracey Szarek have joined to honor the many they have ßknown who have either lost the struggle with cancer or been able to beat it.
The amount that has been raised by Relay for Life events is staggering. Since it started in 1985 with just one event raising $27,000 it has raised $3.86 billion by the end of 2010. This event is not only held in the US, but in 21 countries as well. There are a lot of people working toward a cure. The money that is raised at Relay for Life does not go toward one specific cancer, but supports every aspect of the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. This includes research programs, patient support programs and services, prevention and early detection programs, cancer information services, and advocacy and public policy.
You can learn more by visiting www.cancer.org or www.relayforlife.org. Their first fundraiser is a giant, indoor yard sale being held at the Black Walnut American Legion Bingo Hall on August 12, 13 and 14. Doors will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and there will be something for everyone. Come out and support this group and help make this event great. To keep updated on Diva news, you can follow this group on Facebook under Divas on a Mission.