Sibling cancer survivors thankful for Relay for Life

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame's Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society to support research for a cure for cancer. Two local siblings are battling a rare form of cancer.

Brother and sister Patrick and Shannon Deasey are sophomores at the University of Notre Dame.

They seem like any other twenty-year-olds. No one would know the challenges they face every single day.

“We were both born with a rare hereditary cancer called retinoblastoma which is eye cancer,” said Shannon.

Vision impairments became a normal part of their lives.

But eighteen years later, Patrick was hit with another challenge.

“I developed a secondary cancer, a bone in my nose," said Patrick. "Osteosarcoma is the name of the cancer.”

Patrick did not let it stop him from living his life.

“Being the person you are supposed to be and not just having cancer become your identity,"  said Patrick. "But grow through your ideal and just be an example.”

The siblings are honorary student chairs for Notre Dame's Relay for Life, which is helping to put a voice and face to the daily struggles of cancer patients.

“People see it as a taboo, thing that they don’t want to touch and that they are kind of scared of. It is scary," says Shannon. "I think to put a face to it shows that it is normal, well it’s not normal, but it does happen in everyday life.”

The Compton Family Ice Arena has hosted Relay for Life for the past year, and this year organizers have been working tirelessly to create another successful event.

“The American Cancer Society is a great charity to support and cancer is just something that affects a bunch of individuals so we are just doing are part to help fight this disease,” said Andrea Romeros, Student Co-Chair.

All funds from Relay got to the American Cancer Society to find a cure for people just like Shannon and Patrick.

“Today retinoblastoma is the most treatable childhood cancer in the US with a 98% survival rate and I think to see the progression from foundations like this, it would not be possible without Relay for Life,” said Shannon.

Notre Dame's Relay for Life is open to the public. Click here for more information and to register.

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