Relay for Life of Los Banos holds annual survivor breakfast

mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Curtis and Teresa Fournier hold up a Relay for Life blanket and share a moment together.

MARINA GAYTAN — mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.com

-- It’s been a struggle for Los Banos resident Teresa Fournier to watch her husband endure chemotherapy for two types of cancer over the years.

However, the 48-year-old Relay for Life chairwoman has found that spending time with fellow survivors has helped her cope with her husband illness. Curtis Fournier, 51, said he was diagnosed in 2010 with stage-four prostate cancer and advanced renal cell carcinoma. “My first thoughts were ‘I’m going to die,’” he said.

“I’m still battling advanced caner but because of the new and most recent medications and treatments available I’m still surviving.”

In the spirit of supporting cancer survivors, the Fournier family and other Relay for Life of Los Banos members are promoting the group’s annual Survivor Breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon March 8 at United Methodist Church, 1031 Iowa Ave.

The breakfast aims to not only raise money for Relay for Life, but to bring survivors together as well. Those survivors include people like Diane Bunyard, who was diagnosed in 2008 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Bunyard was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes in the same month 20 years after her father had been diagnosed with the identical illness.

She became involved with Relay in 2009 and will be attending the breakfast for the fourth time in a row. “I think it’s so fun to just go and be with everyone and fellowship,” she said. “You can sit down and talk with people who are going through some of the same things you are going through … over breakfast.”

The 57-year-old retired Los Banos resident was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Bunyard is still battling the lymphoma, but is free from her breast cancer.

Although Curtis has terminal cancer, he uses Relay for Life as a way to find courage in everyday tasks and strengthen his life by being involved in events like the breakfast, which is one of Relay’s largest fundraisers.

The breakfast is made possible through community donations, the couple said. “I had three different strangers bring pancake mix to (my) door,” Teresa said.

Survivors and their caregivers eat at the breakfast for free. Tickets to the breakfast are $5. Attendees will be served pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and a beverage.

More than 400 people attended last year’s breakfast, according to organizers.

“Most (who attend) see it’s an inspiration,” Teresa Fournier said.

For more information about Relay for Life of Los Banos or to purchase tickets contact Teresa Fournier at (209) 826-0610. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

Enterprise reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831 or ext. 6562.

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