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Families unite against cancer

Cancer survivors and their relatives participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Jefferson County.

Cancer survivors and their relatives participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Jefferson County.

June 24, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.VA. - The cancer didn't just affect Brenda Fauble. It affected her whole family.

"I knew I had to go in fighting to beat that thing," said Fauble, 54, of Charles Town, W.Va., who was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in 1995.

Her daughter, Heather Fauble, was 11 when it all started.

"When you think cancer, you immediately think death," said Heather Fauble, who was in fifth grade at the time. "It was very scary. That's why I do what I do today."

Since last year, Heather Fauble, now 26, has been the event chair for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Jefferson County, the organization's biggest fundraiser.

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Organizers hope to raise $120,000 this year, which is about what they raised last year.

Of the 400 participants at Friday's event at Jefferson High School's ninth-grade complex, 65 were cancer survivors, Fauble said.

"Even though there are many survivors, there are also many people who lose their lives," Megan Osinski said about the importance of survivors to support the cause.

Osinski, 26, of Sterling, Va., who walked with her cousin, said she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in October of last year, after she discovered a lump in her throat.

"I had a cold, so I thought it had something to do with that," Osinski said.

The chemotherapy and radiation treatment got rid of the cancer, but Osinski said it caused her to lose all of her hair.

"That was kind of hard for me because it used to come down to here," she said, pointing a spot just below her shoulder. Her head now is gray with stubble.

Brenda Fauble was able to beat her cancer after several rounds of radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

"There's always setbacks. There's always those things that give you a scare, especially when she goes to the doctor," said Fauble's niece, Jackie Ainsworth, 33, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Ainsworth and her husband, Brian, were among the 17 members of the Fauble family's relay team, "Hearts of Hope."

"We get to celebrate my mom's life and the life she may not have had," Heather Fauble said. "She's our inspiration."

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