Kevin Scott thought about his mother-in-law who had passed away in the spring. He thought about his daughter who had just secured Pictou Lodge for her upcoming wedding and he thought about his sister-in-law who had recently been diagnosed with ALS.
He thought about his family and wondered, "How do I tell them?"
It was Dec. 1, 2009 and Scott, who had been working as a police officer with the Town of New Glasgow, had just been told he had a cancerous tumour on his right tonsil. In the weeks ahead he would learn it was Stage 4. The diagnosis had come fast and unexpectedly – the result of a routine doctor’s appointment and a simple complaint of a tickle in his throat.
“Having worked in law enforcement for 35 years you think you understand what fear is being exposed to violent criminals with weapons and whatever, but being told those three words, 'you have cancer', creates more fear than you can actually really comprehend at the time.”
Adding to the apprehension at the time, Scott was told that his doctor was leaving and the office would be closed. He’s thankful to say despite that, the care he received was exceptional. He began treatment in mid-January and by mid-March had gone through about 35 treatments of radiation and chemotherapy.
The treatments temporarily took away his sense of taste, saliva and ability to talk. He was in pain 24 hours a day and required liquid morphine just to be able to drink a glass of water. Those were dark days.
“The message I like to send to people currently battling cancer is never give up no matter how bad it is during those darkest moments and there will be those times.”
His strength came from his family and coworkers.
“It just gave me the encouragement to continue on.”
That spring, still regaining strength from all he had been through, he attended the Pictou County Relay for Life at Parkdale and took part in the survivor’s lap – a tradition in the fundraiser.
"To see the people there and supporting the survivors was overwhelming,” he said.
Scott’s cancer has now been in remission for about nine years. He is this year’s Pictou County Relay for Life community champion and will be sharing his story in hopes that he can encourage others.
While the Relay for Life is the major fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society which aims to eradicate cancer, he said there are numerous spinoff benefits as well.
"It creates a sense of hope for those who are struggling with the cancer,” he said. “The survivors are symbolic that cancer can be beaten and will be beaten.”
He hopes people who have the illness will realize they don’t have to suffer alone.
Pictou County Relay for Life 2019
This year’s Relay for Life in Pictou County will be held June 8 at North Nova Education Centre in New Glasgow.
The event, which in recent years has been held at Glasgow Square in New Glasgow, has been relocated to the school to help better prepare for inclement weather.
“In the past we have definitely struggled with the weather,” says board member Shannon MacLean. “Pictou County has stepped up to the plate year after year and we’ve dealt with everything from hail and thunder and lightning to heavy, heavy fog to I’m pretty sure it snowed at times."
Last year was particularly difficult with hurricane-force winds and rain hitting them hard.
The advantage at NNEC is their ability to go inside to use the gymnasium if that should happen again.
“We can move indoors offering a much more pleasant experience for all involved," MacLean said.
As usual there will be entertainment and a barbecue at the event. Luminaries will be sold on site from 3 p.m. onward.
About 20 teams have already registered for the event, but there are still more spots available and MacLean encourages people to take part or drop by to support the teams that are there.
Money from the event will go to the Canadian Cancer Society. In addition to research, some of the money goes to the Lodge that Gives in Halifax, of which Pictou County cancer patients are a primary user. Money also goes to Camp Good Time which is for youth who have cancer or are in remission.
People interested in taking part can either register online. www.relayforlife.ca or they can get hold of organizers on Facebook or by email email@example.com.
The day of the event, all are welcome.
“It’s encouraged the public attend to cheer on the survivors.”
Want to go?
North Nova Education Centre, 343 Park St, New Glasgow
3 p.m. Team Registration/Survivor Registration
3 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Luminary Sales
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Survivor Banquet
5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Relay
5:15 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
5:30 p.m. Survivor Lap
9:30 p.m. Luminary Ceremony