Havre Daily News
Marjie Sheehy choked back tears after walking a
survivors’ lap on Saturday with her daughter at the
opening of the Hill County Relay for Life to benefit
the American Cancer Society.
“It’s a very humbling and emotional experience,”
Many shed tears of both joy and sorrow during
the 12-hour walk-a-thon fundraiser. The event, which
raised about $50,000, was not only to help raise funds
for cancer research but also to honor those battling
cancer and those who have succumbed to the disease.
The night marked Sheehy’s sixth year participating
in the event after her daughter Mariah was diagnosed
with neuroblastoma, which is a cancer that
usually starts in the adrenal gland.
Mariah Sheehy, 8, held a rose and balloon she
and about 40 other survivors each were given. She is
now cancer free.
The relay was moved inside Havre High School
because of this weekend’s rain. About 800 luminaries,
which were decorated to honor of those with the
disease and lined the school’s hallways, were lit
with glow sticks instead of candles.
Mariah Sheehy of Big Sandy, the youngest survivor
at the event, said she looks forward to the
relay each year to visit with other children and for
the free ice cream, but said she can be overwhelmed
because she is shy and all the attention can be a bit
much at times. Many kids of survivors and walkers
were in attendance for the all-nighter. They played
board games, watched movies and played basketball
in the gym, which also served at the campground
when the relay moved indoors.
Her mother said she has met “hundreds of wonderful
people” by becoming involved with the relay.
“The Hi-Line community has been fabulous,” she
Darren Overlie, co-chair of the Hill County Relay
for Life committee, said he was impressed with the
support the event received.
“Havre is always such a giving community,” he
said today. “It was a very good weekend.”
Sixteen teams with an average of a dozen walkers
paced the halls of the high school from about 6
p.m. until about 6 a.m. One person from each team
had to be walking at all times.
The majority of the survivors have or had breast
or prostate cancer. Some still get chemotherapy
treatments while others had been cancer free for
Survivor committee co-chair Sue Swan said one
walker was diagnosed 40 years ago and one was
diagnosed last month. She said one of the many
blessings that come with the relay is for the newlydiagnosed
to see decades-long survivors.
Jan Hanger, 49, of Havre is a breast cancer survivor
four times over. Hanger has walked in the survivor
lap three times and walked in Saturday’s relay
“I think it’s awesome. It’s wonderful,” she said.
“It’s great to be able to talk to people who are going
through the same thing you are.”
Hanger said she converses with other participants
about treatments. She is in remission and has
to have chemotherapy every three weeks for the
rest of her life to keep the disease under control.
Donna Tilleman, 38, was diagnosed three years
ago. Tilleman said she is touched by the support she
has received and has kept all of the luminiaries others
have bought in honor of her over the years.
Tilleman said despite the weather, the relay
gathered a good crowd and the one bonus was that
walkers didn’t have to worry about bug spray and