Bloomington, Illinois – JUNE 6, 2019 – Relay For Life of McLean County is pleased to announce Normal resident Pattie Taylor been selected as Honored Survivor for 2019. This year’s 16 1/2-hour event will take place at Bloomington High School from 4:30p.m. Friday, June 21 until 9a.m. Saturday, June 22. This year’s Relay theme is “Relay Reunion” because Bloomington High School was the location of the first Relay For Life of McLean County event in 1995.

Pattie’s Story: For Normal resident Pattie Taylor, smoking wasn’t an activity she ever engaged in. Yet, her journey surviving cancer started with a routine chest X-Ray, preparing for a medical procedure on her spine to correct a bulging disc in her neck. That was in 2015.

In March of that year, what should have been a routine step in preparing for that upcoming surgery changed when her doctor asked for a biopsy of her right lung because he detected the presence of a spot on that lung. As a result of that biopsy, Taylor was told she had cancer.

“They told me it was smoker’s cancer,” explained Taylor, 69, and a mother of two and grandmother of six. ”The biopsy said I had smoker’s cancer. I was never a smoker.” Taylor said that meant her cancer was all the result of exposure to second hand smoke.

Prior to this experience, her now adult son contracted and survived cancer at age 4.

Her cancer is in remission and she continues to have regular appointments to monitor her progress. In March 2018, Taylor and her husband were involved in a do-it-yourself project laying hardwood for an all-season room at their house. That involved being on her hands and knees for three days to complete the task.

But a nagging pain in her knee from working the project turned out to be more than just soreness from the labor-intense project. A trip to the doctor showed the cancer had returned and spread to her femur. In September 2018, CAT scans and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRIs, showed Pattie had new tumors. The cancer had metastasized to her brain and left hip. She underwent radiation treatment initially, but now takes chemotherapy in the form of a pill to combat the cancer and will for the rest of her life.

Part of her treatment for that took place at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where doctors put a rod in her right leg to bolster its strength. Without that rod, any kind of fall or injury to that leg could have caused Pattie to lose the leg. In addition, she also underwent radiation treatments at the Community Cancer Center in Normal, and is currently going through follow-up appointments at Illinois Cancer Care in Bloomington.

For Pattie, there is a lesson she said she learned from the experience she wants to pass along: “Don’t let things be left unchecked,” she said. “I can’t emphasize how important it is to get something checked out rather than think it’s nothing.”

Dede Verplaetse (Pronounced VER-plates), co-chair of this year’s Relay For Life of McLean County campaign couldn’t agree more with Pattie about that. “Cancer can and sometimes does start out with something not feeling right. We would encourage people to see a doctor to determine if there is something more to whatever pain is bothering them. If it turns out to be cancer or cancer-related, the sooner treatment is sought, the better the chances of eliminating it and becoming a cancer survivor.”

LOOKING TO REACH 2019 GOAL OF $275,000: Relay For Life of McLean County hopes to raise $275,000 in 2019 and have at least 85 teams and 400 survivors and 400 caregivers at their annual Relay event. Relay For Life of McLean County will be held from 6 p.m. June 21 to 9 a.m. June 22, 2019, at Bloomington High School. When Relay For Life of McLean County held its inaugural event in 1995, it was held at BHS.

SURVIVOR/CAREGIVER DINNER STARTS AT 4:30 P.M.: A dinner for Survivors and caregivers will take place starting at 4:30p.m.

RADIOTHON TO RAISE MONEY TO BE HELD JUNE 21: Since it began in McLean County in 1995, Relay For Life of McLean County has raised over $8.5 Million to fight cancer. We are looking for more teams to join us in the fight!

On June 21, Radio Bloomington stations WJBC AM 1230, WBWN FM 104.1, and WJBC FM 93.7 will conduct a Radiothon event to help raise money for Relay For Life of McLean County.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: Relay For Life wishes to gratefully acknowledge this year’s Sponsors, Bloomington High School, State Farm Insurance, Cumulus Media, Country Financial, and Avanti’s Italian Restaurant, along with all of the other sponsoring businesses and organizations for their dedication to helping us win the fight against cancer.

More information may be obtained by contacting either Dede Verplaetse at 309-261-5521 or Steve Robinson at 309-242-7838.

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