Wednesday Sep 16 2009
Two cancers don’t dampen Merrill’s spirits
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
A sense of humor and smiles keep the manager of Rocklin’s Dress Barn going
For Jeannie Merrill, laughter may be the best medicine. Despite her battle with two cancers, she still maintains a smile and is able to keep a sense of humor through it all. Merrill, a manager of Rocklin’s Dress Barn, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January that quickly spread to her breasts. She has undergone chemotherapy and is currently in the midst of radiation treatment in the hopes of beating the disease. But at the age of 35, Merrill said she’s no stranger to the affects of cancer. She said she’s watched her father and grandmother lose their battles to cancer and she is currently battling alongside her brother in Missouri who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. “You think, ‘how are we going to get through this?’” Merrill said. With lots of laughter and support from friends and family, Merrill has fought the cancers for approximately nine months. She recently acted as team captain for a Relay for Life team at the Rocklin event, called Fashion Fighters, with a group of friends and coworkers at the Dress Barn in Rocklin. With her family and friends, Merrill walked the track at Rocklin High School last weekend raising funds to fight cancer. A sea of purple shirts represented the cancer survivors, Merrill said. “Relay was so amazing because now my kids know it’s going to be OK,” she said. “It’s so overwhelming that every person here (cancer survivors at Relay for Life) has gone through what I’m going through.” Her team raised approximately $700 for the event that will go toward finding a cancer cure. Next year Merrill said she plans to be a Relay for Life committee member and get more involved. “Awareness is key,” she said. “And without laughter, we wouldn’t get through it.” Merrill was asked to share her story with the crowd at this year’s Relay, showing her courage and humor that helps her cope. Although she said there is a time for seriousness and answering the tough questions, “you have to push on, you have to laugh. Don’t give up, just live,” she said. With all that Merrill has been through already, she doesn’t ask for sympathy. Instead she asks for support. “Don’t feel sorry for me, help me,” she said. “Help me find a cure.” For more information on Relay for Life, go to relayforlife.org. Lauren Weber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.