Do you have a story about surviving cancer?
You're encouraged to share it, as part of the Chandler Relay for Life's "Cancer Can. Cancer Cannot." essay contest.
East Valley survivors are invited to compose a short story or poem not exceeding 200 words for a display at the April 27-28 Relay for Life/American Cancer Society fund-raising event at Basha High School. The theme of this year's relay is "Give Cancer the Boot!"
Lynne Hartke, author of "Under a Desert Sky," about her and her parents' battles with the disease, notes that all stories are welcome.
One winner will be selected in each of eight categories: Mayor's Choice, Women's Voice, Men's Voice, Youth Voice, Inspirational, Warrior Spirit, Courageous Heart, and People's Choice.
Winners will have their stories displayed and will be asked to lead the survivor lap, participate in the survivor events and be recognized on stage at the Relay for Life.
Typed submissions can be emailed to Lynne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is March 31.
Interested individuals and their families are invited to visit Sibley's West from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, March 2, to contribute to an "interactive banner" that will be hanging in front of the store.
On one half will be a column, "Cancer Can." The other half will be labeled "Cancer Cannot." Guests are invited to jto down their thoughts on either of or both columns.
The banner will also be displayed at the Relay for Life event.
"We really want to highlight survivors' stories," Lynne said. "We invite anyone to share a thought about cancer on the banner."
Lynne will also be on hand to answer questions about the essay contest and to encourage visitors to share their stories.
Flyers will also be available.
For those who are interested, Ironwood Cancer Center -- at 685 S. Dobson Road in Chandler -- will host two story-writing sessions for anyone wishing to work on their entry. The sessions will be held from 6 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 28, and from 4 to 5:30 pm Monday, March 4.
Lynne, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, was cleared in 2015. She is a 2018 "Voice of Hope" for the American Cancer Society.