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'Magical' kickoff for Relay for Life

Brooke Sherman's theme song during her battle with cancer was Michael Jackson's "Beat It." And she did beat the cancer.
Area Relay for Life Representative Joyce Swanner goes over the benefits of the Relay for Life Tuesday night.

By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter

The 2011 Relay for Life got off to an inspired start Tuesday night as members of the Castle Valley community gathered at the Carbon District Administrative Offices to prepare for the annual endeavor and hear from a local family who recently fought the disease and "beat it."

"As a caregiver, music played an important role on the journey my daughter Brooke and I traveled," explained Prudence Sherman, while delivering a powerful description of her daughter's recent battle with lymphoma. "Music can bring you to your knees in tears. Music can fill your soul and lift you up. It is the same with cancer."

Two years ago, Carbon High sophomore Brooke Sherman was diagnosed with Aplastic T-Cell Non-Hodgikins Lymphoma.

"I went straight into chemotherapy and induction," said Brooke, speaking ahead of her mother on Tuesday night. "I had to either be strong or die trying, I had no other options."

On the day of Sherman's diagnosis, Michael Jackson's "Beat It" blasted through the car stereo as the young lady and her mother returned from the hospital. "This is my song," she said. From that day forward, the song's battle cry lyrics would provide strength for Brooke throughout her ensuing battle with cancer.

Chemotherapy and surgeries followed over the next year as Brooke struggled to stay alive while most teens are struggling with boy trouble and learning to drive.

"For Brooke, losing her hair was devastating," said Prudence on Tuesday night.

However, just as Brooke had fought to remain on the drill team and in school, she found a way to participate in the local Locks of Love campaign, gaining some new tresses for herself while providing a real community connection for the Castle Valley concerning the devastating effects of the disease.

"The outpouring of generosity and caring from our community was amazing from the very beginning," said Prudence.

Through several more meaningful pieces of music and endless treatments and sickness, Brooke began to beat back the disease.

As of August of last year, Brooke is cancer free and once again living the life of a




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