By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
This year, as Relay for Life comes to their back door in Hokah, Carolyn Horihan and her daughter Amanda (Hinze) will relay for many reasons.
“My sister, Karen Horihan-Zeinke was diagnosed in 2000 with breast cancer,” said Carolyn. “She passed away in 2002.”
Mother Mary (Horihan) was diagnosed in 2003 with uterine cancer and in 2005 a sister, Colleen Nieser, was also diagnosed with breast caner.
In 2010, the disease hit Carolyn, and her father, John Horihan was diagnosed in 2016 with cancer.
“For me it really is about getting out there and being with people who support you,” Carolyn said. “You meet others dealing with the same things you are going though. It is nice to have the comraderie, support and encouragement to keep your head up and keep going.”
Relay means so much to Carolyn that in August of 2010, just after her last chemo treatment, she attended relay.
“Everyone across Houston County comes together,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re from Hokah, Houston, Caledonia, La Crescent or Spring Grove, we’ve all been impacted and we all stand together and fight.”
As her aunts, grandmother, grandfather and mother fight against this disease, Amanda has many reasons she too has joined the cause.
“Relay for me is about spreading awareness,” she said. “Hope for the future. I know with my family history I am going to be impacted and I want to fight for my children so they maybe live to see a cure for cancer.”
Because of the family history, Amanda, despite being in her 20s, has started to have mammograms.
She could find out if she has the gene that is prevalent in her family which would also help diagnose the disease, something she so far doesn’t care to know if she is a carrier.
Crazy, mixed up bunch
Formed in 2002, Relay, 2017 will see the Horihan family, along with several of their friends walking the rout.
While the group has missed a few years here and there, for the most part, the “Crazy, mixed up bunch” has been a part of relay in Houston County.
“We gave ourselves that name because that’s what we are,” Amanda said. “A crazy, mixed up bunch.”
Amanda’s grandmother, Mary, has provided warm cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven for the walkers early in the morning each year the team has participated in relay.
“I guess with getting done at 4 a.m., she’ll have to have them ready a little earlier,” Amanda said.
Carolyn said that she appreciates the support that the Relay brings to this important issue.
“It’s good to see all of the people out there and to hear the stories of people who have beaten cancer,” Carolyn said. “We hope everyone will come out here in Hokah from across the county and support Relay for Life this year.”