Colleen Schwarz, of Franktown, was surprised when she was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008. Two years later, her son, Ryan, was diagnosed with skin cancer on his right calf.
“It takes friends and family to pull you together,” Colleen Schwarz said. “You don't even know what you need. Friends and family are what did it for me, and friends and family are what did it for (Ryan), and (the American Cancer Society) surrounds all of it and fills in the holes.”
Now, both cancer-free, Colleen and Ryan lead their own team in the annual Relay for Life fundraiser for cancer research.
“The reason I'm here is to make sure everyone has a chance to be a survivor,” Colleen Schwarz said.
The Relay for Life of South Metro Denver drew $46,276 in donations for cancer research by teams participating in the 24-hour walking relay run by the American Cancer Society.
Members of each fundraising team took turns walking the track of Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch for a span of 24 hours beginning Aug. 16 and carrying over until 10 p.m. Aug. 17. The day closed with a ceremony of small paper bags honoring loved ones placed on the bleachers spelling the word "Hope."
Ryan Schwarz is the first to admit his mother deserves the credit for inspiring him to be there for Relay for Life.
“I find it that my mom is my light,” Ryan Schwarz said. “She shows me what's the right thing to do, and that's something I can pass on to other people.”
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