Rally for a Cure tournament today | CraigDailyPress.com
Luke Graham

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Rally for a Cure tournament today

For Marla Lynch, today’s Rally for a Cure benefit golf tournament means more than playing for a good cause.

Lynch, who graduated from Moffat County High School and whose family mostly still lives in Craig, was diagnosed in September with Stage 2 breast cancer. In such cases, the tumor is 2 to 5 centimeters wide and can spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

“I was shocked. Then I just realized I had to get my head on straight because I have a husband and three children,” she said.

After having another checkup in October, doctors rediagnosed Lynch with Stage 4 breast cancer –the most serious diagnosis. The cancer had spread — or metastasized — to her liver. Doctors gave her only five to seven years to live.

“It felt like somebody had knocked the wind right out of me,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘how could this get worse?'”

Lynch headed to San Fran–cisco to get another opinion.

“The doctor in San Francisco was my first sign of hope,” she said.

She returned home to Denver and started seeing a homeopath doctor and made some “radical changes” to her diet.

In April, a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan — a head to toe search for cancer cells — revealed she was cancer free. A second PET scan in June discovered the same.

“It was truly a miracle,” she said. “It was awesome, but in the back of my mind, it was hard to believe, as hard to believe as my diagnosis was.”

For Lynch and her sister, Jeanne Dilldine, the golf tournament will be a way to share their story with others who have experienced cancer or have known someone who has. It also will be a way to commemorate Lynch’s battle.

“It’s just wonderful to actively be able to participate,” Dilldine said. “She had a miracle, that’s why we’re celebrating. It will just be fun to be together for something fun, not sad.”

Lynch and Dilldine will play with sister-in-law Susan Nicholson and Niece Amber Nicholson. They will be among 40 women competing in the sixth annual Rally for a Cure, which tees off this morning at Yampa Valley Golf Course.

“It’s pretty awesome to celebrate with other women who have beaten the disease,” Lynch said.

The Rally for a Cure is a national foundation in its 10th year that brings people together to play golf to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

“Everyone has been affected by breast cancer,” local organizer Susan Utzinger said. “A lot of the ladies who golf are golfing in memory of someone.”

According to breastcancer.org, a nonprofit organization for breast cancer education, it is estimated that about 212,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, along with 58,000 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer in 2005. Forty-thousand women are expected to die from the disease.

Last year, more than 160,000 people and 2,900 golf clubs nationwide participated in Rally for a Cure.

Part of the money raised will go to the Komen Foundation, and the other part will go to the Moffat County Cancer Society, Utzinger said.

This year’s tournament will help raise money for people such as Lynch to continue with their everyday lives.

“I am excited to someday meet my grandchildren,” Lynch said. “With (the original) diagnosis, I wasn’t even going to see my oldest (child) graduate high school.”