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Greenwich Cancer Survivor Embraces Annual Relay

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich resident Robin Hicka does not think every day about how she survived breast cancer. But the annual Relay for Life event in Greenwich is an important reminder of her recovery.

“The first lap we do is the survivor lap. It’s very emotional because you’re walking and you see how enormous the track is, and people are lining the track and clapping and you just think, ‘Whoa,’” said Hicka. “Every minute for me is not, ‘I’m a cancer survivor.’ But at the relay, it’s a time when survival is all I can think of, and it once again makes me remember that I am not alone.”

Hicka was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, on the same day she signed the contract for her house in Riverside. “When my doctor told me, the first thing I said to him was, ‘I just bought the house!’ and he said, ‘Congratulations!’ before he proceeded to tell me I had ‘the good kind'" of cancer, said Hicka. “That’s not something you get your arms around very quickly. Fifteen years later, I truly had ‘the good kind.’”

Hicka had a lumpectomy – no radiation and no chemotherapy – and has been free of cancer ever since. At that time, she didn’t have much of a history of cancer in her family, but that soon changed.

“My mother was diagnosed in her 80s, and right after that I had an uncle that had pancreatic cancer. Fast-forward a couple of years, I lost my brother-in-law to lung cancer. My husband is also a prostate cancer survivor. It’s rampant,” she said. “I truly believe I’m a survivor, and I think from the day I was diagnosed I took to heart that each day. It’s why I got involved with Relay for Life – I want to see this gone. I don’t want to hear yet another person has been diagnosed.”

Hicka, who is on the sponsorship committee for this year’s Relay for Life event in Greenwich, says the focus is to build the Greenwich community of supporters and sponsors . The theme this year is “Relay Olympics: Going for the Gold and Finding A Cure.”

“We’re trying to get everyone to reach out to their network and see what they can find,” said Hicka. “I work in the financial industry, and I can see things are clearly better than they were two years ago in terms of sponsorship. But you also hit a lot of ‘No’s’ along the way, and it requires a pretty thick skin. But I don’t know a single person who has not been affected by this disease.”

Last year’s Relay for Life hit a snag when a mountain lion was spotted on the Brunswick School campus days before the event, which had to be moved to South Norwalk. “The relay last year was different than we expected, but for us, nothing was going to get in our way. This year we’ve planned for everything,” said Hicka. This year, the relay is booked at Brunswick School's Edward campus beginning at 7 p.m. June 15 and continuing through the night.

Those interested in sponsoring the Relay For Life of Greenwich 2012 should contact Aubrey Keely at aubrey.keely@cancer.org or call 203-563-1527.

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