Aurora -- Chuck Richardson, co-chairman of the Northern Portage Relay For Life, will honor his mother when he takes part in the event this year.
Northern Portage Relay For Life will begin at 5 p.m. June 6 and end at noon June 7 at Veterans Stadium. The event, which has lasted 24 hours in the past, was changed to about 18 hours this year "to change things up a bit," according to co-chairman Kevin Nietert.
Northern Portage Relay For Life raised $28,877 as of May 30, and its overall goal is $60,200, according to Nietert.
Vicky Richardson, 65, who lived in Manito, Ill., was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer Oct. 25, 2011, at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, Ill. After several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, her lungs were clear at the time of her death on Jan. 12, 2014, her son said, but it was her liver that failed her.
"I made the trip from Cleveland to Chicago for my mother's diagnosis," said Richardson, who lives in Northfield. His father, Charles, 71, was also there.
"The Cancer Treatment Center wanted to start her treatments right away. She consulted with my father and I on what we thought she should do. She knew at that time her chance of a full long-term recovery was very low.
"My father and I both told her we would respect whatever decision she made because she was the one who would have to go through the grueling treatment. Ultimately, her decision to accept treatment was for her six grandchildren.
"Her exact words were, 'If it gives me one more day with my grandkids, it's worth it.' She started treatments the same night as her diagnosis."
Vicky Richardson was a stay-at-home mom while her son and daughter, Lori Mitchell of Manito, were young.
"She loved spending time with my sister and I and her grandchildren," he said. "Four grandchildren live in Ohio and two were only a few miles from her home. Her other loves were my father and her cat, Buddy, who she called her little man.
"PEOPLE WHO knew my mother will always remember her as one of the kindest people they ever knew. She had a heart of gold and would do anything she could for anyone in need."
After he grew up, Richardson vacationed with his mom, taking her to places she might never have gone like Alaska, Washington, D.C., and her first time to see the Atlantic Ocean at North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Richardson said his favorite memory of his mom occurred Thanksgiving 2006 when she and my wife's family were sitting around a table.
"As I said grace, I dropped to my knees and proposed to my wife. Mom's tears of joy were priceless, and I'm so thankful I got to share it with her, but sad my mother-in-law, Kathy Nietert, wasn't there to see it," he said.
Kathy Nietert, mother of Kevin an twin brother Kris, died from salivary gland cancer in April 2006. Their families began participating in Relay For Life that year and every year since.
Kevin Nietert and Richardson have been co-chairpersons the last two years. Before that, Kevin Nietert's wife, Vanessa, was co-chairperson in 2009 and 2010.
"I take part in Relay with the hope that I can make a difference in someone else's life that has been affected by cancer and maybe help them win the fight," Kevin Nietert said.
Nine teams have registered and there are 129 participants so far. Team Nietert's goal was $10,000, and the team has raised $14,917 as of May 30. The Kathleen Nietert Run for Hope is Aug. 3. There will be 5K and 7.5-mile races at Sunny Lake Park.
Richardson added, "I've made and lost so many friends who are and were cancer patients while doing this event that it's renewed my commitment and the fight against cancer."
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187