Woodward, Okla. —
Teams at this year's Relay for Life in Woodward had a party.
A birthday party that is, as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society (ACS). They also celebrated how ACS seeks to help all cancer patients celebrate more birthdays.
So during Friday night's Relay birthday party, the guests of honor were, as they are every year, the many local cancer survivors.
The News visited with just a few of these brave battlers who shared stories about their individual journeys to overcome cancer.
Luke Spray, 1-month-old
Diagnosed a week before his mother Tecia Spray's due date, when an ultrasound found a mass in his abdomen. He was delivered at OU Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City and at just 4-days-old, he underwent surgery to remove the tumor which was "the size of a grapefruit."
Spray said her son Luke was "almost a 10-pounder" when he was born, "but 8 ounces of that was the tumor."
However, she said her little guy is "so strong" and has fared well through this difficult time.
"He's great, just like a normal newborn," she said.
After spending 3 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Spray said Luke is now home where the family can fully enjoy their newest addition.
But the doctors will continue to monitor his condition through monthly blood tests, she said.
Spray said what has helped the most through this "terrifying" situation is all the prayers that have been sent up on Luke's and his family's behalf.
"There's been so many prayer chains in Northwest Oklahoma and other states just praying for him," Spray said.
She is grateful for those prayers because she knows God is answering them.
"You have to realize you're not in control and put it in God's hands," she said.
She is also grateful for the Relay for Life and its goal of raising money for the American Cancer Society to use for cancer research.
"We need to find a cure, because I wouldn't wish this on anyone," Spray said. "It's scary knowing your child might have cancer and then to hear there was cancer in the mass. So hopefully we can find a cure so other families don't have to be scared."
In addition to the money it raises for research, Spray also supports how ACS raises awareness about cancer and that it affects everyone.
"You don't ever think your child will go through this," she said. "You always think that cancer affects older people and you can sometimes almost forget that it can affect people of all ages."