Relay For Life

More than 50 Years of Relaying for Windward Oahu (2/4)

For more than 10 years, these legacy Relay For Life of Windward Oahu teams have been “Relaying” for friends, family, and even themselves.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to fight every cancer in every community. Relay For Life events raise critical funds that help fuel the mission of the American Cancer Society, an organization that’s reach touches the lives of so many – those who are currently battling cancer, those who may face a diagnosis in the future, and those who may avoid a diagnosis altogether thanks to education, prevention, and early detection.

RFLMI Hope sunset

Our next legacy team is Jan’s Fans as told to us by Margie DeJournett –  ACS Relay for Life captain of Team Jan’s Fans.

Our Kailua friendship circle has been around since the late 1960s.  Most of the husbands are local boys.  Wives came to the islands in the early 1960s.  Jan Broderick was one of them.  She fit right in and was everyone’s best friend!  Always the life of any party and she shared her great laugh easily.  Life was good.

We were all stunned to learn she had ovarian cancer at age 59!  Treatment was brutal. How to help?  We had a casserole parade, walked with her each day, watered her plants, sang songs.  Small things. Suzy Churchill suggested we start an ACS Relay For Life team.  What a good idea!  I called Jan’s friends, known as the “aunties”.  They all jumped into action!  I became the Team Captain and Cindy Bond came up with the name Jan’s Fans. Jan LOVED it!  Feeling so much better after chemo, she wore her high school song leader uniform to our first Relay and marched around the track with great gusto!  We proudly raised $3,000 that year……….

Jan’s health took a turn and she lost her cancer fight in April, 2006, soon after turning 61.  Again, we were stunned!  Cancer had really gotten our attention!  Our friendship circle stayed with Relaying and we learned that it provided us with multi-layered fellowship. That next year, we raised almost $6,000!  What? Each following year, we continued to remember and honor Jan and then Cindy, as well.  By this time, she had been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer. She lost her tenacious fight in December, 2008.

We began hosting garage sales, raising $6,000 in 2012, $9,000 in 2013, $10,000 in 2014, $12,000 in 2015.  We added another $12,000 in 2016!  From garage sales?  Sue Bauckham shared her thinking, “Who would ever have dreamed that enthusiasm for sorting rummage could yield such a pot of gold?”  (Her husband, Art is fighting leukemia right now.  He knows that he is surrounded by the love and caring of our circle of friends.  He is fighting back!)

Adding to those garage sale amounts, we have been regularly and generously gifted with anonymous donations!  From 2009, we have consistently raised $25,000 to $30,000 each year!  To date, Jan’s Fans has raised $246,227.32 for the ACS!

What started as just an idea of how to show support for Jan, after she was diagnosed, has blossomed into a movement that has inspired so many people to support cancer research and education.  Our movement continues to gain momentum.  As Team Captain, it is gratifying to see the generosity and support for Jan’s Fans.  It makes the time I volunteer beyond WORTH IT!  The aunties (uncles, too) are always ready to jump out and make a difference.  We continue to add new supporters to our circle.

We are contributing some of the money raised this year to Hope Lodge and feel wonderful knowing that there will be a Jan’s Fans plaque in the garden area of the Lodge remembering Jan Broderick.  She will represent all of those friends who have lost their fight with cancer, honor those who have whipped their cancer and support those who are battling cancer now!

The motto of Jan’s Fans is LOVE ALL AROUND!  It comes from a long-time Broderick Family toast.  It says it all!  It makes us feel good…And we know that Life is Good!

Look for Jan’s Fans at the Relay For Life of Windward Oahu on July 9, 2016, 2-10pm, at Kailua High School.