Survivors share stories of hope, support at Relay for Life

Glenda and Nickie Youngblood have been married 49 years. They were participants at this year's Relay for Life in Cleveland on Friday, April 26, at Cleveland Municipal Park.

By Rachel Hall, contributing writer

Cancer is no respecter of persons.

“My wife, Glenda, felt a lot of fear when first diagnosed,” said Caregiver Nickie Youngblood. “I was just there.”

The shock and fear for the Youngbloods were eventually replaced with determination to overcome the disease. 

“I went with her to every doctor’s appointment,” said Nickie. “That’s all any caregiver can do – just be there.”

Glenda recalled the moment she knew it was serious was the phone call following a routine exam. She was told not to worry about calling her insurance for pre-approval. She needed to return to the office as soon as possible. 

“I felt a lot of anxiety,” said Glenda. 

The test results showed breast cancer. Treatment options included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Glenda went through all three over 11 months with Nickie by her side every step of the way. 

“I’m blessed with good insurance, a husband who takes care of me, people who pray for me all over the world, and with the support of family and friends,” said Glenda. 

Glenda has never been the type of person to say “woe is me,” according to Nickie. 

Today she is a survivor. 

“I had my last treatment on a Wednesday and left on a cruise that Friday,” said Glenda. “Through the Lord’s Grace, I’m free of this and I did the other stuff just to make sure.”

Patsy Keith and her husband, Jacky, have been going to church with the Youngbloods for 40 years. For the last 17 years, the couples have attended every annual Relay for Life held in Cleveland together. 

“I had breast cancer 34-and-a-half years ago,” said Patsy. “I had surgery, so I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation.”

Battling the cancer at the time while in her 40s was no easy task. After the surgeries, Patsy was required to do months of physical therapy at her own home to restore motion and function, especially to her arm. 

“I had to hang a jump rope over a door and pull it back and forth to stretch,” she said. 

The Youngbloods and Keiths plan to continue being supporters each year of Relay for Life so others facing cancer can feel the same support and hope Glenda and Patsy felt on their journey. 

According to Organizer Hannah Taylor, the North Liberty County Relay for Life event held at Cleveland Municipal Park on April 26 raised roughly $40,000 to be donated for cancer research.

“We are going to symbolize that cancer is not going to stop and neither are we,” said Taylor opening the walking track for supporters in attendance. 

For more information about Relay for Life, follow “North Liberty County Relay for Life at Cleveland, TX” on Facebook.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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