Race for a cause

By on February 12, 2014

Pictured are Travis Arment, this year’s honorary chair for Norlanco Relay for Life and his girlfriend, Elina Raksin. Photos by Lucy Riccomini

Pictured are Travis Arment, this year’s honorary chair for Norlanco Relay for Life and his girlfriend, Elina Raksin. Photos by Lucy Riccomini

Relay for Life Norlanco kicks off and introduces its honorary chair

Travis Arment last week put a face on World Cancer Day at Cocalico High School.

The day, typically reserved each year to raise awareness for cancer, also served as the kick off for the 2014 Norlanco Relay for Life. As honorary chair, Travis answered the call on both fronts.

Despite the poor weather, guests gathered in the Cocalico High School cafeteria Feb. 4 while they listened intently to Travis Arment’s story about his battle with cancer.

Travis, 25, is currently a student at HACC and a Garden Spot High School graduate. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December 2012 after discovering a lump. In January of 2013, he underwent surgery to remove the cancer. He was told chemotherapy was inevitable as anomalies were found in follow-up tests. Travis anticipated the grueling chemotherapy, even shaving his head, quitting his job and school and mentally preparing himself for a long road of pain and finally recovery. But after additional tests were performed, Travis’s oncologist found that chemotherapy was not necessary and that the cancer was no longer in his body.

Travis talks about his journey of fighting cancer to the guests at the Norlanco Relay for Life meeting on Feb. 4.

Travis talks about his journey of fighting cancer to the guests at the Norlanco Relay for Life meeting on Feb. 4.

“It was kind of weird and stressful,” said Travis upon hearing the news. “I didn’t know how to feel about it. I shaved my head, people were raising money for bills, I dropped out of school and work, I was ready to go. It’s kind of a weird feeling. I built myself up to feel sick and go through chemotherapy. It was a relief but stressful. Would it be better if I just get it to be sure it was taken care of – as a preventative measure?”

Travis is currently in remission and is enrolled again in HACC, holds a 4.0 GPA, and plans to attend Bucknell.

He has the support of his girlfriend, Elina Raksin, as well at his parents Tim and Sheila Arment, who helped him through his journey. In fact, it was his mother who introduced him to Norlanco’s chairwoman, Sharon Susa, and he soon became involved with Relay for Life and the Misfits on a Mission Relay team. He is honored to represent Norlanco at this year’s annual race.

Chairwoman for Norlanco Relay for Life Sharon Susa talks to guests about the importance of raising money, awareness and support for those with cancer.

Chairwoman for Norlanco Relay for Life Sharon Susa talks to guests about the importance of raising money, awareness and support for those with cancer.

“I want to raise more awareness for my generation,” said Travis of his experience with cancer. “And for people out there that think like me, who don’t think it can happen to them. I’m open to talking about it and I hope to get people to check and be aware because you never think it will happen to you.”

The 15th annual “Hitting Cancer Out of the Park” Relay For Life of Norlanco will take place at the Cocalico School track on June 20 and 21. Supporters and survivors will relay as teams and individuals, spending 24 hours to celebrate survivors with a reception and light dinner Friday evening. They will remember those we have lost and honor those in the fight with a very moving luminaria service at dusk. Celebrations continue overnight with many events and great entertainment. Saturday morning will serve as a reminder of how to fight back as individuals, families and a community against Cancer.

Relay For Life is the premier fundraising activity of the American Cancer Society. Relay takes place in more than 6000 communities around the world and supports the ACS in order to ‘Finish the Fight.’

Lucy Riccomini is the Cocalico editor for The Ephrata Review. She welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at lriccomini.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4424.

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