North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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March 29, 2013

Cancer awareness walk is memorial for Hayden victim

HAYDEN — A Hayden woman is honoring the memory of her mother and helping others who have the same illness.

Kara Phillips is organizing the Ginny Dutton Memorial Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk, which is May 11, 8 a.m., at the Gardendale Civic Center. Dutton died on Easter Sunday in 2012, a year and a half after being diagnosed with bladder cancer.

“She never complained about being sick or having cancer,” Phillips said. “She just kept going until she stopped.”

Dutton was 65 when she died.

“She was too young and too active,” said Phillips, but added, “I was very fortunate to have her as long as I did.”

Dutton received her diagnosis of cancer after two rounds of antibiotics did not cure what she first thought was a urinary tract infection.

An only child, Phillips said her mother was always involved. She was a Hayden Band Booster president when Phillips was in school. And after she got sick with cancer, Dutton became active in cancer support groups.

After being diagnosed in September 2010, Dutton was cancer-free in 2011 when her daughter contacted the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network wanting to do something to raise awareness of bladder cancer.

She told her mother at Christmas in 2011 about the upcoming bladder cancer awareness walk, which was to be named in Dutton’s honor.

But Dutton’s cancer returned in March 2012, and she died in April.

“She didn’t make it to her walk,” said Phillips through tears. “But we had it anyway.” The first walk raised about $500 for bladder cancer awareness, but Phillips wants the second one to be much bigger.

Besides the memorial walk, Phillips is also involved in the North Jefferson Relay for Life. Last year, she formed a team to raise money for Relay, which funds the American Cancer Society. This year, she is on the Relay committee.

“I started doing Relay for her,” Phillips said. “It’s my labor of love.”

To learn more or to sign up for the walk, go to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network website at www.bcan.org and click on the map, then choose Alabama on the pull-down menu.

Participants must sign up by April to be guaranteed a T-shirt, although a few extra shirts will be available at the event.

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