Veteran teams up with others for first RelayAnn Murchie has served her country for more than 27 years. Now she has shifted her focus and is fighting another battle, against cancer.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Ann Murchie has served her country for more than 27 years. Now she has shifted her focus and is fighting another battle, against cancer.
Murchie started the Stutsman County Soldiers, a team that will participate in this year’s Relay for Life on June 12 at Rollie Greeno Field.
The team is comprised of five ex-military staff who have all been affected by cancer, Murchie said.
This is her first Relay for Life team, but she has participated in the event in the past during the survivors’ lap, she said.
Murchie was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in November 2007.
“I decided I’m going to beat this. I’ve been through two wars and I’m going to beat cancer,” Murchie said.
The fight was hard and it was nearly the end of her, she said. It included five rounds of radiation and chemotherapy with three treatments each round.
Murchie was not alone in her fight, she said.
“She’s a dear friend to me,” said Deb Gilbertson, Murchie’s friend for more than 15 years and owner of the Wonder Bar Sports Bar.
Gilbertson said funds from blackjack were donated through the bar and the Knights of Columbus during Murchie’s cancer battle. She also provided emotional support.
Sponsoring the team for the relay was a quick decision for Gilbertson, she said, when Murchie started the Stutsman County Soldiers.
Gilbertson said she lost family members to cancer and that Relay for Life is a great cause.
So far Gilbertson has donated close to $800 for the Stutsman County Soldiers as well as revenues from T-shirts, which are available for sale at the Wonder Bar Sports Bar.
It’s the same shirt the team will wear during the relay.
Mary Holzworth, a Stutsman County Soldiers team member, said she joined the team because the money raised goes to help cancer research.
Holzworth said she lost a brother-in-law to cancer. She said it feels good when people come together to tackle a cause.
In addition to raising funds for the American Cancer Society, Murchie said she hopes to raise awareness of military members with cancer and serve as a tribute to those members.
Murchie, who was on active duty in the Air Force during Vietnam, also served in the Army during the Gulf War, she said. She worked in hospitals providing medical attention for injured soldiers.
It was that medical knowledge that alerted Murchie to seek medical attention when she coughed up blood on an October 2007 morning, she said.
If she hadn’t sought medical attention when she did or soon after, Murchie believes she would be dead by now.
“A lot of people write off aches and pains,” said Andy Anderson, one of Murchie’s friends. “You shouldn’t fear it, you should fight it.”
Anderson is also a veteran who has been affected by cancer, he said. His father, who spent 20 years in the Marines, died from cancer.
While not a member of the Stutsman County Soldiers Relay for Life, team Anderson said he still supports Murchie.
“I’m proud of her,” he said.
Holzworth said she also looks up to Murchie.
“It’s inspirational just to see what she’s gone through. It goes back to the military, they make great leaders,” she said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com