FROM READERS: Bank employee shares passion for Relay for Life

Saturday, October 12, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Tatha Todd resides in Columbia and is a Rock Bridge High School alumna. She is married to John Todd and they have one daughter, Tatianna, who is currently a sophomore at Rock Bridge. Todd has worked for BCNB for 15 years and is currently a credit administration officer in commercial banking.

While working for Boone County National Bank, I have had the opportunity to be involved with the community for many years as a member of their Relay for Life team. For the 2013 Relay, I was approached to be co-chair of our team, a responsibility that has changed my perspective of the Relay dramatically.

As co-chair, the success or failure of this committee was up to me, and I did not want to fail. Fundraising became my main objective and measure of success for our participation in the event. As a committee, we determined the type of events to hold, how to gain participation, and ways to get our employees involved.

I constantly thought about what we could do next and how we should tell people about these events. I wanted to keep the Relay in the front of everyone’s mind. In fact, I had to contain myself from sending out e-mails every day! I wanted everyone to feel the same excitement as our committee did about our fundraising efforts.

Being co-chair brought out a passion for the Relay I lacked in years past. I was going through a rough time in my personal life when asked to be co-chair. I agreed without knowing how I was going to find the time to devote to my team. I found as I started becoming involved, the role gave me something positive to focus on, and the work I was doing produced a small spark in me. I gained the strength and motivation to keep going from the value I felt while working to make a difference in someone else’s life.

The personal connection I have with the Relay was another driving force to meet our team goal. I have had several family members and friends that have fought the battle of cancer — some have overcome and some have succumbed.

I think what has really solidified my tie to this cause is my part-time job at the University Hospital in the emergency room as a registration representative. I have been exposed to so many patients and their families that have come in with complications due to cancer. Most recently, I watched one of these patients come in multiple times over several months. The cancer was slowly breaking her down physically and mentally, and I felt a deep sadness every time I saw her there. One Sunday as I was reading the paper, I recognized my patient's name in the obituary section. Overcome with emotion, I realized her photograph was as I remembered her looking in years past, not the recent times I had seen her at the hospital. I felt such sadness for her and her family, but also relief that her suffering was over.

At this time, I realized just how important the work was that I had done for the Relay. This is why I and hundreds of others volunteer time to the American Cancer Society, ultimately to serve those that find themselves battling this disease.

I saw the effect my work as a volunteer had on the community as the survivors walked their lap on the night of the Relay event. As the survivors passed our booth, I could not help but clap, yell and cry for them as they celebrated their victory against the disease while many others could not. The work that I have done for our bank team has led to an opportunity to work next year for the Boone County Relay for Life, a true honor!

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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