When Marian Chappel sets foot on the track at Duncanville High School as a participant in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, she will walk with a renewed purpose. In the past, Ms. Chappel has participated in this annual event to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have lost loved ones to the disease. This year, Ms. Chappel has her own survival story to tell.
In April 2015, Ms. Chappel, the Reed Middle School secretary, was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. When Chappel’s doctor told her the news, she was paralyzed.
“I was in denial, like the doctor wasn’t even talking to me,” Chappel said. “I could not even say the word cancer.”
Chappel had gotten her regular mammograms every year, but in 2015, she was six months late. A cyst had formed during that time and when doctors went in to remove it, they found the cancer.
Chappel went through months of radiation and chemotherapy, all while still working at Reed. Chappel scheduled her treatments for Fridays so she could still be around the positive staff and students who kept her spirits high during the difficult time.
“I didn’t want to take off. I would just worry about it,” Chappel said. “It was easier for me to be around people. It helped me a whole lot.”
In February of this year, Chappel found out that she was cancer free; however, her effort to raise awareness about the disease is ongoing. Chappel will be participating in this year’s American Cancer Society’s Best Southwest Cities Relay For Life event held at Duncanville High School’s Panther Stadium.
Relay For Life events are an opportunity to not only honor cancer survivors and remember lost loved ones, but also to raise awareness about what we can all do to stay healthy while raising research money to one day put an end to cancer.
“American Cancer Society Relay For Life is the world’s largest movement to end cancer,” Mission Lead Gloria Lockhart said. “We want the community to walk with us to honor our cancer survivors and remember loved ones lost in an atmosphere full of hope, smiles, fun and excitement.”
The overnight fundraising walk begins at 7:00 pm, and will feature laps for survivors, caregivers and teams, along with a Survivor Dinner and Opening Ceremony. So far, 48 teams and 394 participants have signed up for the May 20 fundraiser, but there is still time to join. To learn more about how you can participate, click here.