When Sheena Laidlaw was in the hospital getting treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, she struggled to stay positive.

As a second year nursing student, she was accustomed to a busy lifestyle of exams, clinic education sessions, as well as time with friends and family. But over the months that she was in the hospital receiving chemotherapy, she felt defeated.

“I felt so helpless and alone,” Sheena said as she thought about her months in treatment. Struggling to keep an optimistic attitude, her brother gave her the push she needed to stay strong.

“My brother told me that I was a survivor and that I had to stay strong so I could be part of Relay For Life,” explains Sheena. “Time goes by so slowly in the hospital. I was starting to feel like I would never go home. Relay For Life gave me something to look forward to,” she says.

The pep talk from her brother gave Sheena the motivation she needed to focus on healing and keeping a positive attitude. After several months in the hospital, she was finally able to go home and continue her maintenance therapy with oral chemotherapy drugs to prevent a relapse, as well as take part in her first Relay For Life.

“I’ve been leading a Relay For Life team in Windsor every year since 2011 and I’m excited that so many people in our community take part,” Sheena says. “Whether you’re a survivor or you know someone who has beat cancer, is fighting it now, or has lost the fight, Relay unites us. I felt so alone at the hospital but walking the Survivors’ Victory Lap made me realize we are all in this together.”