NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Hundreds of people will gather at the Ashley High School track Friday night for the annual New Hanover County Relay for Life event.
Cancer survivors and people currently battling the disease will walk the first lap of the two-day event after the opening ceremonies which start at 6:30 Friday night.
You'll hear many stories from cancer survivors at the event from infants to the elderly. Then there are stories like Josh Kates', who was diagnosed with the disease at just 16 years old.
Just four years ago Josh was like any typical teenage boy – energetic and athletic. He did have epilepsy, so when he crashed his car coming home from work one day, his family immediately thought it was a seizure.
A CT scan, however, showed Josh had a malignant brain tumor.
"When they told me it was the size of a walnut my parents couldn't believe it," said Josh. " I'd been having headaches because of this tumor and we didn't know."
Doctors weren't able to remove the entire tumor, but it was treatable and reacted to radiation. Josh said he was scheduled for 20 radiation treatments.
Josh had some setbacks during treatment that put him in and out of the hospital for over a year, but today – he's healed.
"I am cancer free now," said Josh.
This weekend will not be Josh's first Relay for Life event. In fact, he was going to relays with his mom before his diagnosis. Testament, he says, that you never know when cancer will hit home.
"It's amazing how many people are affected by it," said Josh. "You just never know."
Money raised from the Relay for Life event will benefit the American Cancer Society.
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