GREENFIELD — If you count the people who will be happy to see the sunrise Saturday at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Greenfield survivors’ breakfast, Curt Creder will most certainly be among them.
When he was 8 years old, Creder was diagnosed with leukemia, and the treatment was essentially as arduous as the disease itself.
“There were three or four in my treatment protocol, and I was the only one that survived,” Creder said Wednesday.
“They took your immune system down to zero back then. Since then, they’ve figured out that’s not probably the best idea. You need something,” he said with a laugh.Now 33, Creder is a 1999 Greenfield-Central High School graduate who went on to Marian University and now works as an environmental microbiologist for the Indiana State Department of Health.
His fight against cancer wasn’t limited to childhood, however.
Last year he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and though the treatment was not nearly as savaging as that of his childhood, Creder still had to put up a fight.
“They removed my thyroid, and then I had radiation iodine therapy, so it was much easier than the treatment I had for leukemia, but you could say my battle with cancer was very great.”
Creder will be among those appearing at 9 a.m. Saturday for the relay’s survivor breakfast to honor and recognize their continuing fight against the disease followed by a survivors and caregivers victory lap at 10 a.m.
“Since this is the number two money provider behind the U.S. government in raising research dollars, it’s good to get behind an event like this,” he said.
Creder will be among nearly 400 walkers, runners and participants of all kinds individually and on 34 teams that will spend the night circling the track at Greenfield-Central High School.
“We’re doing really great on participants,” said Brooke Melton, Hancock County Relay for Life chair. “We’re a little down on survivors, but we’re hoping as the word gets out, they’ll come.”
To date, this year’s effort has raised $46,428 for cancer research, Melton said.
There’s more to this year’s relay than 20 hours of simply lapping the school’s track, however.
“We have a lot of things planned,” Melton said.
Two bands, a silent auction that runs until midnight, a DJ to keep things hopping through the wee hours and a 6 a.m. rise-and-shine with coffee and doughnuts are planned, and that doesn’t include the themes and activities.
A different theme marks each hour of the walk, ranging from Mardi Gras masks to crazy hair and from a beach party to walking in pajamas.
Activities during the night include kick ball, hula hoop contests (BYO hoop), a scavenger hunt and a frozen T-shirt contest, Melton said.
“But the main thing we want people to understand is that it is completely free to attend,” she said.
Creder has already walked a long road to take his place Saturday during the survivors’ victory lap; he’s a man with a mission who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to beating cancer. And he has no intention of passing on a chance to get the word out.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
IF YOU GO
What: American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Greenfield
Where: Greenfield–Central High School, 810 N. Broadway St., Greenfield
When: Lapping starts at 4 p.m. Friday, with opening ceremonies and team laps beginning at 6 p.m. The event runs through the night with closing ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Cost: The event is free