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Lacher had been feeling uncomfortable after eating and had lost weight. Finally, she decided it was time to see her doctor. And now, her tests were back.

Judy Lacher was alone at home when the phone rang.

no excuse to keep seeing the patient. Lacher, hoping for some fringe benefits, asked for a handicapped sticker.

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Funds will also go toward the Hope Lodge, a home away from home for cancer patients. Additionally, the money will help pay for support groups and a 24 hour 1 800 help line for patients and their families.

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"He said, 'You have six months to a year to live. And maybe you should call your doctor. Do you have any questions?'"

Lacher went into surgery after the diagnosis. Doctors removed a 5 pound tumor that had moved through her stomach wall and into her pancreas and spleen. They removed parts of those organs, along with a collection of lymph nodes, she said.

Still, Lacher says, aside from the exhilaration resulting from the mere act of survival, having had and fought and beaten cancer has come with some benefits.

Survivors wore necklaces of multicolored pompoms the night of the relay, with each plush ball marking another cancer free year. Lacher had 28.

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Lacher joked about the five year mark of her recovery, when the oncologist who had guided her through that stage had Nike Vapormax Plum Fog

It will help fund The Road to Recovery, which provides patients transportation to treatments when they can't drive themselves.

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The call, from a doctor she had met only once, was impersonal, purely informative.

Despite the death sentence, Lacher was still standing the evening of Saturday, Aug. 2, as the Bloomington resident spoke during the opening ceremony for the Richfield Nike Vapormax Blue Sole Bloomington Relay for Life at Richfield High School's Spartan Stadium.

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that aspect, Larson said.

But she was too healthy. Her request was rejected.

Cancer survivors circle the track at Richfield High School for the opening "survivors lap" at a Relay for Life event at Richfield High School Friday, Aug. 1. From left, Bev Munson of Richfield, plus Bloomington residents Derek Hanisch, Brice Bielinski and Judy Lacher make the walk. (Sun Current photo by Andrew Wig)

While organizers try to draw a more robust crowd, the transition to Richfield has offered some

Next year might provide a platform for a higher profile, as the American Cancer Society marks Relay for Life's 20th year in Richfield and Bloomington.

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It was the relay's second year in Richfield after moving from Bloomington Stadium when the latter venue's track was removed. The number of teams participating this year represented a decline from the norm, according to Larson.

Bloomington Relay for Life brings stories of survival

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The goal is to always raise $60,000 or more for the American Cancer Society, and the event raised $54,000 last year, she said. Although approximately $22,000 was raised this year, according to the event's website, Larson was still hopeful the night of the event that the fundraising tally would still approach last year's total.

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As it aims to support those programs, the event has gone through some "growing pains," Larson said.

improvements for the gathering. Larson praised the quality of the track surface. Plus, for the second year the relay has the services of the Richfield Optimists Club, who provide concessions. In the past, it had been up to teams and organizers to take care of Nike Air Vapormax Mens White

Attributing part of the downswing in participation to some "family issues" that grounded some teams this year, Larson added, "We just have to get Richfield and Bloomington to come together and get them both back in there."

"We're trying to make a big deal about 20 years of Relay for Life in this area," Larson said.

"As you can see: Ha ha ha, he was wrong," she said in smiling defiance.

Richfield firefighters walk the flag across the Richfield High School track during the opening ceremony for Relay for Life Friday, Aug. 1. (Sun Current photo by Andrew Wig)

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think anybody who's lost a major organ should get a handicapped sticker," she joked.

Judy Lacher of Bloomington sits on a bench beside the Richfield High School track before telling her story to a crowd at Relay for Life Friday, Aug. 1. (Sun Current photo by Andrew Wig)

She raised her necklace off her chest as she alluded to the prognosis the doctor so mechanically delivered over the phone.

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Lacher was among the survivors honored that evening, as those lost to cancer were remembered. According to event chair Jean Larson, about 10 relay teams were on hand for the fundraising effort, having pledged to walk the track in shifts until the

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That money will go toward a number of ACS programs, as listed by ACS staff member Breanne Foster.

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