Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories on area cancer survivors as the date nears for the 2013 Relay For Life at James B. Abraham Stadium. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26. It concludes at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 27.

My name is Zan Jackson. I am a five-year cancer survivor.

On the Friday before Christmas 2007, I was diagnosed with infiltrating lobular carcinoma. Those are fancy words for my type of breast cancer. I had just recently turned 39 years old, had been married just two years, and had always been healthy.

The years 2008-09 was consumed with chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries and scans. Cancer did indeed change my life, but God has brought me through and I believe I am stronger now than ever before.

I have come to realize just how short our time is here on Earth and that we must use that time wisely and make the most of it. Unlike most women my age who are concerned about the number of the next approaching birthday, I look forward to that number growing and growing! Birthdays now have more significance as does my other “birthdate” that I celebrate – that of my diagnosis. I celebrate LIFE!

I took part in the Relay For Life as a survivor and felt the calling to do more.

I am a Survivorship Co-Chair for the Relay For Life this year and would like to invite any and all survivors to join in our activities that we have planned.

We have a Survivor and Caregiver Dinner scheduled and the opening ceremonies of our Relay include Survivor participation. The first lap of the Relay will be the Survivor Lap followed by the Caregiver Lap. We would love to pack the track for these laps, especially. We have these Relay For Life Survivor yard signs available to any Survivor and to serve as a visual reminder of WHY we Relay.

The Relay For Life Lonoke is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 26 at the Lonoke High School football field. Again, our Relay is not just for Lonoke. Our desire is to reach out to all our surrounding communities.

If you are a survivor, or know of one, or would like to stop by and pick up a Survivor yard sign, please contact me at 501-676-5540, Lonoke Physical Therapy, 1515 North Center St., Ste #5, Lonoke, or e-mail me at zan.lpt@sbcglobal.net for more details.