Red Deer cancer survivor Kelly Fairholm said she’s excited for this weekend’s Relay For Life, which raises money for cancer research. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Cancer survivor helps organize Central Alberta’s Relay For Life

Red Deer’s Kelly Fairholm was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2007

Fighting cancer is one of the hardest things Red Deer’s Kelly Fairholm has ever had to do.

The 59-year-old was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2007.

“I think I went into shock,” Fairholm said. “I was numb – it was nothing I was expected and I didn’t fit the demographic for that kind of cancer.

“You truly believe it’s not going to happen to you.”

Fairholm said the treatment, which included 24-hour chemotherapy for six weeks, was tough.

“I went through a whole range emotions,” she said. “I didn’t want to die, but I knew that was a possibility so that was really tough.”

“My hair got thin, but never fell completely out. I had nausea … and I was exhausted constantly,” Fairholm said.

Her friends and family helped carry her through the tough times, she added.

“They sort of became the focus as I fought the cancer,” she said.

Fairholm’s last treatments were spring 2008. She said when her doctor told her the cancer was out of her body, she didn’t believe him.

Fairholm said she still gets tests done regularly to ensure the cancer does not return.

“I still always get a bit nervous before the tests, worried it will come back. You kind of always live in that shadow,” she said.

While receiving treatment, Fairholm learned about the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual Relay For Life event in Red Deer, which raises money for cancer research.

“It’s a great event and a huge fundraiser for the (Canadian) Cancer Society. They do really great work with lots of good programs,” she said.

Fairholm has participated in the relay before, but this year she’s on the organizing committee serving as honorary co-chair.

“It’s an emotional event but it’s also really uplifting,” she said. “It’s all about the fight and doesn’t focus on just the horrible part of it.”

In addition to the relay there will be a survivor’s lunch, vendors, live bands and the lighting of the luminaries, where people can light a candle to honour people who have lost their lives to cancer.

“It’s incredible to see the support from others but it also shows how prevalent this is,” Fairholm said. “Seeing that many people at the survivor’s lunch and at the Relay For Life, it’s clear that it touches everybody.”

Relay For Life is Saturday from noon to midnight at CrossRoads Church. The goal is to raise $50,000.

For more information visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Update: Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis remains in critical condition in hospital after firepit explosion

WHL and families issue a statement on Friday night incident that injured three Lethbridge Hurricanes

AHS recognizes National Indigenous Peoples Week

Smudge to be held at Red Deer hospital

“Nothing can take away the horror and the anguish,” says Amanda Lindhout’s mother

Lorinda Stewart reacts to 15-year jail sentence for daughter’s kidnapper

Amanda Lindhout kidnapper sentenced to 15 years in prison

OTTAWA — A Somalian man found guilty in the kidnapping of Amanda… Continue reading

Police suspect fire at mosque in Alberta town was deliberately set

EDSON, Alta. — RCMP in Alberta say they’re investigating an arson at… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Alberta High School Soccer League champs crowned

Lindsay Thurber girls’ team and Notre Dame boys’ team won Saturday at Edgar Park Field in Red Deer

Shotgun wounds show homeowner shot Indigenous man at close range, court told

HAMILTON — Either one of two shotgun blasts that hit an Indigenous… Continue reading

When it comes to tipping for service, millennials are cheapest

U.S. millennials are quick to whip out their wallets for pricey avocado… Continue reading

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual… Continue reading

Trudeau government to kick off talks towards national strategy on big data

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government will take fresh steps on Tuesday towards… Continue reading

Ethics watchdog says Bill Morneau didn’t break law with pension bill

OTTAWA — The federal ethics watchdog has closed the last in a… Continue reading

Private jet once owned by Elvis Presley for sale – again

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley that… Continue reading

Roll out the barrels: Christo artwork floats on London lake

LONDON — The ducks, geese and hardy cold-water swimmers in London’s Hyde… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month