Hero of Hope enlightens fellow survivors over breakfast

Published 2:36 pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

American Cancer Society Hero of Hope Betty Jannis shares her story of beating esophageal cancer at a Relay For Life Survivors' Breakfast on Thursday.

American Cancer Society Hero of Hope Betty Jannis shares her story of beating esophageal cancer at a Relay For Life Survivors’ Breakfast on Thursday.

Cancer survivors who attended the annual Chilton County Relay For Life Survivors’ Breakfast at West End Baptist Church on Thursday were able to see living proof of how proceeds from Relay benefit people just like them.

Betty Jannis, an American Cancer Society Hero of Hope from Decatur, shared her story as a cancer survivor and talked about her time at Hope Lodge in Birmingham.

Jannis and her family stayed at Hope Lodge as she underwent daily chemotherapy and radiation treatments for esophageal cancer in 2005 so that she wouldn’t have to commute from Decatur to Birmingham every day.

The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge is a place where cancer patients and their caregivers can stay for free if a patient’s best treatment options are in a different city.

A portion of all Relay For Life proceeds help pay for Hope Lodge.

Birmingham’s Hope Lodge is one of 31 locations throughout the United States.

“It was a very accommodating situation for us to have as I went through my treatments,” Jannis said. “Hope Lodge was a gift to my family and I. It made the journey less stressful.”

Jannis said Hope Lodge is similar to a hotel in that it has a lobby, kitchen, dining room and individual rooms for patients and their families.

She said she cultivated friendships with other patients staying there and found solace in “swapping war stories” with them after treatments.

Jannis has now been cancer-free for eight years.

“I marveled at all the people God put in our path to comfort us,” she said. “It’s so encouraging to take that survivor lap. I can never praise God enough for the gift of life.”

Dori Lawrence, daughter of Brandi and Tony Lawrence of Clanton, attended the breakfast in honor of her grandfather, Floyd Logan, who passed away in 2012 after battling cancer.

Lawrence made cupcakes for everyone to have with their breakfast.

Lacey Ellison and Chloe Haggard sang “This Little Light of Mine,” and Donna Hill shared information about the new Cancer Conquerors exercise program at Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness created to help cancer patients and survivors cope with fatigue and other effects of treatment.

“You are truly the heart of Relay,” Relay Chairwoman Aimee Eiland said to survivors Thursday morning. “You give our community hope.”

Relay For Life of Chilton County will be held from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday at the little league football field in Clanton.