The power of purple Norlanco Relay for Life names Lori Stayer as 2013 honorary survivor
By: LUCY RICCOMINI Review Staff, Staff Writer
"Tonight I stand before you as a three-time cancer survivor," announced newly appointed honorary survivor, Lori Stayer, during the Jan. 8 Norlanco Relay for Life rally at Cocalico High School.
The Cocalico High School cafeteria was peppered with the color purple, as survivors, friends and family listened to Stayer’s story. Purple represents the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life and celebrates the survivors of cancer, remembers those who lost the battle, raises awareness, and helps raise money to find a cure for the disease.
The Norlanco Relay for Life represents the northern portion of the county, from New Holland to Manheim. It has received multiple awards from the American Cancer Society, including the Terry Zahn Award for Excellence in Communication and is ranked second in its division nationally. The organization works diligently throughout the year to promote the 24-hour Relay held each year in June. Every year the Norlanco officers choose an honorary survivor to represent the Relay for Life.
After hearing Stayer’s story, the committee decided she was the perfect candidate to represent the 2013 Relay for Life. Stayer will be the face of the organization, give an opening statement at the Relay, be the first to start the walk, and take part in other special events throughout the year. She also serves as the face of the 2013 Relay for Life for the media.
"I feel very honored and privileged and most of all blessed," said Stayer, a Denver resident, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. After a grueling stint of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Stayer was in remission. But in 2006, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After another fight through a difficult series of treatments, she was again in remission. In 2011, she found another lump in her breast and went through the process again. Through her struggle, she found faith and hope in those who surrounded her — friends, family, her husband Ben, five daughters, and co-workers.
The Stayers began participating in Relay for Life in 2004 when Lori was first diagnosed. Ben’s employer, E&G Concrete’s Relay team, Beacon for Life, showed a great amount of support for the Stayer family. And Lori’s employer, Ephrata National Bank, supports her each year with its teams. Ben was also named one of Norlanco’s Relay for Life honorary caregivers, an acknowledgment given to someone who gives amazing support and passion to someone suffering from cancer.
"Ben continued to tell me how beautiful I am and always will be," Stayer said. "It’s like we’ve fallen in love again in a whole new way.
"It’s such an encouragement to see everyone support and come to the Relay," continued Stayer. "I get so much support from family, the church and my co-workers."
Though Lori has faced difficulties through her fight with cancer, she sees the positive impact it has had on her and continues to be a stronger person from it.
"I learned early on not to think about what-ifs and realize that every day is a gift. Hope has been my anchor."
The Norlanco Relay for Life takes place on June 14 and 15 at the Cocalico High School track. Look for Stayer leading the crowd as the Norlanco organization continues to paint purple throughout Northern Lancaster in its fight against cancer.