Fighting back against cancer

Locals remember, celebrate those dearest to them

Published on June 22, 2014

NEW GLASGOW – He never forgot the rolls again.

On Peter Power’s first date with his late wife Caroline, he made a steak and lobster dinner, accompanied by salad, and on Valentine’s Day, no less.

She pointed out what was missing; she was a joker – and that’s one of the things Peter loved about her.

Peter, his two daughters, relatives and family friends honoured her memory on Saturday as they walked around the Parkdale Track in New Glasgow for the Relay For Life.

“A lot of people didn’t even know she was sick because she didn’t like people to make a big deal about her. Half of the people that came to the funeral thought she was getting better because you would never know what type of pain she was in,” her daughter, Katie, said.

Caroline, an outgoing woman who moved to Pictou County following a vacation that never ended, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in August 2012 and was told she had six months to live.

She lived for 18 more months, and she lived well.

She relaxed at the cottage with family, and celebrated every holiday expecting it to be her last.

She had her final Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2013 with a 14-person family dinner, and her grandson, Bentley, running around the home.

“It was madness truthfully, but it was fun,” Peter said.

She began to grow tired, and ended up in the hospital in January 2014.

Caroline spent less than 24 hours at the hospital. By 10 p.m., she told Peter to go home and sleep.

At 11 p.m., she was sitting up, drinking frozen lemonade and teasing her grandson.

The hospital called Peter to come back at midnight because she was fussing, he said.

“I think she knew she was going,” he said about his 52-year-old wife, adding that she was too young.

Caroline would’ve been proud of her daughters, Lauren and Katie, for initiating their team, Caroline’s Crew, Peter said.

However, she would’ve insisted they not make such a big deal over her, the daughters said, laughing.

It’s too late now, as Peter pointed out, after raising $1,500.

Caroline’s family weren’t the only ones to make a display of their lost loved one or a surviving fighter.

Lorna Patchett was honoured for the second time at the relay – and in a big way.

The Wonder Bras donned pink bras, both the male and female participants, over their clothes as a symbol of Lorna’s Wish – that women take the time to get tested for breast cancer.

They raised approximately $4,000 and walked around the same track their mother used to gain strength during her battle in memory of a truly generous woman.

“Two months before she passed away, she cooked a big Christmas dinner for everybody. As sick as she was, there were about 15 of us at the house, she did it all. She put on her hat and away she went, didn’t care what she looked like, just wanted to make sure everybody enjoyed a meal and was together,” her daughter, Julie, said.

Marilyn DeCoste shares a similarity with Power and Patchett – they’re all fighters.

She was diagnosed nine years ago, now in her third year of remission.

“I’m not planning on going anywhere for a long time,” she said.

DeCoste marched around the track with her buddies, three of whom have been doing the relay for nine years with her, proudly wearing a full Spiderman costume – representing the superhero theme and her own spirit.

Though doctors believed she wouldn’t make it through colon-rectal cancer, she always thought she would, proving she’s on an ‘extended warranty.’

“It’s all in the attitude.”

DeCoste and Marilyn’s Team placed second for the most funds raised this year with more than $10,000.


Click here for more on this year's Relay for Life.

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