Area Man's Experiences Change Meaning of the Relay For Life

Created: 07/09/2014 7:39 AM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - The Fillmore County Relay For Life is this Friday. For many, it's a time to cheer on cancer survivors while remembering those who lost their battle. We talked with a local man who says he never realized the power of the relay until he was fighting for himself.

"It was the furthest thing from my mind,” said Nathan Osmonson of Harmony. 

At the age of 25, Nathan Osmonson's yearly routine checkup took an unexpected turn, with the discovery of a worrisome lump near his throat. "They had called and said that is was Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma,” said Osmonson. Doctors diagnosed him with the most common form of thyroid cancer. 

"A million things start going through your head, instantly you start thinking of the worst case scenario,” he said. 

Thankfully, Nathan’s cancer was caught at an early stage. Mayo Clinic doctors were able to remove it entirely and there was no need for chemotherapy or radiation. Now Nathan’s life threating experience can be found illustrated in a scrapbook. "It's definitely not fun, but it's worth fighting for,” said Osmonson. 

Worth fighting for is no doubt, the thought that will be on everyone's mind at Relay For Life in Fillmore County this Friday. "It warms your heart that you can feel like you are doing something to help his cause and all the many others that are survivors plus it's preventative care,” said Sue Sikkink, Co-Chair of Fillmore County’s Relay For Life. 

They hope to raise $128,000 this year to go toward research for a cure. "Every little penny, every little dollar helps,” said Sikkink. 

For years, Nathan Osmonson has participated in the relay for life, but it took a cancer diagnosis to truly understand the power of the relay. "In the back of your mind you’re always afraid that it might come back, and events like the relay give you strength to move forward,” he said. 

Nathan will be sharing his story at the survivors tea on Friday. The Relay For Life will kick off at Harmony Community Center at 6pm. Members of our very own ABC six family will be MCing the event including sports anchor Kate Constable.