Cancer survivor thankful for every moment

June 27, 2014
Survivor Justin Ray walks the victory lap with his sons, Walter and Robert in 2013.

Survivor Justin Ray walks the victory lap with his sons, Walter and Robert in 2013.

LUDINGTON — Life is something Justin Ray doesn’t take for granted. When he walks the victory lap Saturday following the opening ceremonies of Relay for Life at Oriole Field, he will be thankful for every step he takes, and every breath. He will also be thankful for his two young sons and his wife.

In 2010, at the age of 26, Justin was diagnosed with stage 4 hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes.

“It was found in my spine, ribs, jaw and leg,” the Ludington resident said. “They also found several lesions in my neck, abdomen and groin.”

Justin went through 6 months of chemotherapy and thought that he was in the clear.

“Then 4 weeks later I had a relapse. They found a spot underneath my arm pit. Then I went through a complete stem cell transplant. “

He has been cancer free since.

“I think I am fortunate to have the perspective of life that I have. I have the opportunity to have life, to be a husband and to be a father.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for this and I never take anything for granted.”

Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society kicks off at noon. The schedule includes:

– Noon: Opening ceremony

– 1 p.m.: Survivor luncheon

– 1:30 p.m.: Silent auction begins

– 5:30 p.m.: Fight back ceremony

– 6 p.m.: Silent auction ends

– 9 p.m.: Dusk/luminary ceremony

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