We Relay for Life

On December 31, 1984, Karen Roberts’ 9-year-old son Patrick was complaining that he didn’t feel well. Weak and achy, he didn’t want to play with his brother. Karen knew something was wrong. She immediately took him to a doctor, who sent them on to the children’s hospital. Soon after, the unimaginable was realized – Patrick was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

Patrick spent the next three years on chemotherapy and having bone marrow tests to ensure the cancer had not spread.  He attended school as his illness would allow and made friends among those who weren’t afraid that cancer was contagious and didn’t pick on him for being bald. He made it through, eventually becoming an athlete and living a normal life. He’s still in remission 19 years later. The information Patrick’s oncologist provided Karen gave her hope. The treatments gave Patrick a future.

Since then, Karen has lost other family members and a dear friend to cancer. “I can’t let their fight be for nothing,” she says. Their stories and Patrick’s are Karen’s reason to Relay.


“As a parent who had little to no information about this disease, I spent three years feeling like I was in the dark. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. Now, thanks to the American Cancer Society, all of the information anyone could possibly want is at their fingertips,” Karen says.

Karen, like many Primericans touched by cancer, looks forward to the day when a cure for cancer is found. Until then, we Relay to Accelerate a Cure. We Relay for Life.


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