Cheer on Survivors

RFL-WalMart Kickoff 09 071
Story of Survival
Published in The Missourian on 5/30/13
Written by By Karen Butterfield, Missourian Staff Writer

For Wendy Wildberger, who has been involved with the Relay For Life of Franklin County on and off since its beginning 18 years ago, the Relay is personal.

In 1990, at the age of 10, she was diagnosed with astrocytoma, a tumor in her spinal cord.

The tumor was removed surgically, but three years later, Wildberger relapsed. This time, she was treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Treatments lasted eight hours per day, two to three days per week.

In 2001, Wildberger was labeled “terminal” and told she didn’t have much longer to live. Because of nerve damage, she is paralyzed.

Her tumor eventually “settled” and hasn’t caused any further nerve damage, she said.

“I never really felt that I was terminal,” Wildberger said. “I was determined to prove the doctors wrong, and at 33, I’m still here. I have proved them wrong.”

Wildberger said that as a survivor, Relay is another opportunity to celebrate that she has beaten cancer.

This year also holds special meaning for her, since it’s the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society.

Wildberger said she’s amazed at the advancements even just in treatment, as now, people can choose oral chemotherapy and spend much less time at the doctor’s office.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to it being the 18th year of Relay in Franklin County,” she said. “We have such a great community of survivors, caregivers and citizens who come out to support our cause.”

Wildberger reminds people that you don’t have to have cancer to attend the Relay.

“Anyone can cheer on a survivor,” she said.

More than 150 cancer survivors will walk around the track in unity [during the Survivors’ Lap].

“I can’t wait to see the full track of survivors,” Wildberger said. “It always gets me. It’s overwhelming to see all the purple shirts (survivors wear).”

This year’s longest cancer survivor [attending their event] is celebrating 47 years of survival. The newest person was just diagnosed a few weeks ago.

“Even if you’re not affected personally by cancer, as a community, we can support our survivors,” Wildberger said. “Pack the track and make some noise for them.”


St. Louis’ Top Employers Partner with American Cancer Society on National Cancer Prevention Study

Company Champions at the CPS-3 press conference on February 19, 2013.

Company Champions at the CPS-3 press conference on February 19, 2013.

Residents in the St. Louis area have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a historic study that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations. Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are needed to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of 300,000 people across the United States and Puerto Rico. The opportunity for local residents to enroll in CPS-3 is being made possible in partnership with some of St. Louis’ top employers. UMB Bank, Edward Jones, Centene Corporation, Maritz Holding, Inc., KPMG, Monsanto, and Siteman Cancer Center will be hosting CPS-3 enrollment sites from April 23 – May 2, 2013. Eligibility and enrollment details can be found at

CPS-3 will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer. “Currently, there are no other studies of this magnitude in the US that enable researchers to look at various racial and ethnic populations and cancer risk,” stated Mike Dany, Executive Vice President for the American Cancer Society. “We commend our corporate and health care partners for taking the lead to offer their sites for participants to enroll in this critically important study.”

Enrollment in the study involves two steps. After scheduling an appointment, individuals will be asked to complete a comprehensive survey online that asks for information on lifestyle, behavioral, and other factors related to their health. Step two involves an in-person enrollment process which takes approximately 20-30 minutes and includes measuring waist circumference and collecting a small blood sample from participants. Upon completion of this process, the Society will send periodic follow-up surveys every few years to individuals to update their information and annual newsletters with study updates and results.

Researchers will use the data from CPS-3 to build on evidence from a series of American Cancer Society studies that began in the 1950s that collectively have involved millions of volunteer participants. The Hammond-Horn Study and previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I, and CPS-II) have played a major role in understanding cancer prevention and risk, and have contributed significantly to the scientific basis and development of public health guidelines and recommendations. Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions. The current study, CPS-II, began in 1982 and is still ongoing. But changes in lifestyle and in the understanding of cancer in the more than two decades since its launch make it important to begin this new study. The voluntary, long-term commitment by CPS-3 participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come.

Go to to enroll or call 888-604-5888. For more information or to learn how to become involved with CPS-3, visit, email, or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

Dr. Jeff Michalski from Siteman Cancer Center speaking at the CPS-3 press conference.

Dr. Jeff Michalski from Siteman Cancer Center speaking at the CPS-3 press conference.

UMB Bank Chairman & CEO Tom Chulick speaks at the CPS-3 press conference.

UMB Bank Chairman & CEO Tom Chulick speaks at the CPS-3 press conference.

Big Awards for Relay For Life events in Eastern Missouri

Volunteer leaders from Saint Louis University and Washington University celebrate their awards.

Nearly 800 volunteers from across six states recently attended the annual Relay For Life Summit, receiving educational information and updated resources needed to implement a successful Relay For Life event in their community.

With the theme ‘Dream Big, Hope Big, Relay Big,’ conference goers participated in various general sessions, breakout sessions and ‘The Experience’, which emphasized how to plan and implement a successful Relay For Life. An awards ceremony was held honoring Relays that achieved success in team development, leadership development, mission integration and fundraising.

Congratulations to the following events in eastern Missouri on their awards:

Thanks A Million: Events reaching over a million dollars cumulatively this fiscal year.

  • Cole County
  • Washington University
  • Franklin County
  • Cooper County
  • Perry County
  • Randolph County

 Top Ten Community Teams                                                                                

  • The Flower Children – $69.433 raised – 2nd overall

Top Youth/Collegiate Teams

  • Team Treasures – Perry County – 2nd overall raising $31.878.00

Rookie Youth/Collegiate Event: Top net income

  • Centralia High School placed 1st raising $29.943.86

Top 10 Community Events

  • Cole County placed 5th raising $335,463.81

Top 5 Youth/Collegiate Events

  • Washington University placed 1st      raising $263,878.83
  • Saint Louis University placed 2nd      raising $133,294.00

Top Online Youth/Collegiate Event

  • Washington University – $216.087.58

High Plains Division Community Per Capita Awards: Determined by population using adjusted census figures and based on the per capita income from all of the Relays in each county

  • Cole County – 1stin their population bucket
    • Population Bucket: 75,000-99,999
    • Raised Per Capita: $4.47
  • Boone County – 3rdin their population bucket
    • Population Bucket: 150,000-249,99
    • Raised Per Capita: $1.79

College Per Capita Awards

Saint Louis University placed 3rd

    • School Enrollment: 8,670
    • Raised Per Capita: $15.56

Washington University placed 4th

    • School Enrollment: 11,967
    • Raised Per Capita: $22.04

All American Award Winner: Event growth and implementation of Leadership Development, Team Development, Event Development, Survivor Development, Fundraising Development

  • Relay For Life of Adair County

Five Star Relay Award Winners:

  • Centralia
  • Kahoka
  • Owensville
  • Shelbina
  • Dexter
  • Warrenton

Relay For Life brings together more than 3.5 million people around the world to participate in a life-changing event, which has raised a total of more than $4.25 billion to fund the American Cancer Society’s mission. It offers participants and attendees the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those that have battled cancer, remember those lost to cancer, and empower individuals and communities to fight back against this disease that takes so much. Dollars raised through Relay For Life help support the American Cancer Society’s mission of eliminating cancer by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.

Summit attendees returned home excited and empowered to ‘Dream Big, Hope Big and Relay Big’ at their events and year-round. For more information about your local Relay For Life visit or call 1.800.227.2345.

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