by Dennis Dalman
Pete Hanson, who battled cancer and won not once but twice, will emcee the all-night Relay for Life event that starts at Sartell Middle School at 5 p.m. Friday, June 5 and runs until 6 a.m. Saturday morning. If the weather is inclement the event will be moved inside the school.
Hanson is brand manager for 98.1 Radio Minnesota’s New Country and for 103.7 Radio (The Loon).
Hanson hopes lots of people show up for the all-night fundraising rally to fight cancer.
“Those who come will see people celebrating life,” Hanson said. “And it’s a great opportunity for people to see what the American Cancer Society is doing, to see it in action.”
At the Relay for Life, cancer survivors, caregivers, family, friends and supporters will camp out and take part in walking relays throughout the night. There will also be music and special activities, including the lighting of luminaries starting at 10 p.m. along the walking path. The event raises funds so the ACS can fight cancer through ongoing research, education outreach, comfort programs for cancer victims and their families, and other efforts.
Hanson, who is on the Relay for Life planning committee, found out he had Stage 3 colon cancer when he was only 36. He had to undergo surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and then more surgeries. That was almost 15 years ago. As if that wasn’t ordeal enough, Hanson discovered about a year ago he had kidney cancer, possibly as a result of the radiation he had received to treat the colon cancer years ago. Fortunately, the kidney cancer was found by diagnostics early enough. It has been dealt with, apparently with success.
“Having had cancer makes you appreciate the average day,” Hanson said. “You’ll never hear me complain about a dull day.”
One of Hanson’s tools for fighting cancer is a sense of humor and a quick wit.
Referring to all the radiation he received, he said this: “(When you) Turn the lights off, I might glow a little.”
Hanson said he often gets up on his soapbox to give the “early-detection” advice.
“I’m living proof of what happens if you don’t catch cancer early,” he noted. “I was 36 and hadn’t had a colonoscopy. My cancer wasn’t noticed until later, when symptoms appeared.”
Nobody – but nobody – ever benefits by not going to the doctor, Hanson said, adding men in their stoic but foolish ways often scoff at the idea of going in for medical check-ups.
“If there is the slightest question about anything, go to the doctor and get it checked,” he advised. “They can detect a lot of things now, even through blood work.”
Having cancer has caused Hanson, like other cancer survivors, to face mortality head-on.
“Generally, about my life, I think no matter what I do, it will be shorter than what I wanted it to be,” he said. “So I learn to take the days as they come. You can’t control, usually, when you’re going to die. It’s what you do with your days that counts. So quit counting days.”