‘Why I Relay’ / In memory of Lance Holland

Rockwall County Relay For Life, April 27-28

“Lance Holland was my brother, not just my brother-in-law,” Dana Macalik stated emphatically. “He began dating my sister, Saundra, when they were just 13 years old. He was a fixture in my family from then on, because they weren’t just high school sweethearts. They married when they were 20.”

Lance Holland and Dana Macalik during chemotherapy treatment. Photo submitted by Mary Thacker.

Dana and Lance were not only family; they worked together at Lance’s company, Regal Realtors. In late summer of 2009, Dana was the first to notice that something was wrong with Lance. “He was sitting across from me in a bright white shirt, and I saw that the whites of his eyes were yellow,” Dana remembered. It took several months to determine that Lance had pancreatic cancer.

“No one in the family had ever had anyone close to us diagnosed with cancer. We all resolved that we were going to beat this thing,” Dana recalled.  Lance endured 6+ hour chemotherapy treatments once a week for over a year-and-a-half and participated in a blind drug study. “The hospital would give Lance a private room for his treatments, because there were so many friends and family members who wanted to sit with him during his sessions. “Lance had a very positive attitude which was infectious. He would say, Guys, give it to God. Trust and have faith.  “That became our mantra,” Dana said.

“We knew that we had to focus on how our family and close friends could support Lance and attack cancer. We each chose a role in fighting cancer. My role was to use my sales and marketing background to raise money. I believe whole-heartedly in the American Cancer Society,” Dana passionately proclaimed.

“From the money Rockwall County raises at Relay For Life, only 3% goes toward administrative costs. The rest of the funds go directly to research and education.”

Dana joined the Rockwall County Relay For Life executive board as the Corporate Sponsor Chair in 2010 and began working to get the community involved. She was able to raise $17,000 for the American Cancer Society through company donations. Then she and Justin Holland, Lance’s son and Dana’s nephew, formed a Regal Realtors Relay team and started fundraising.  “We decided we would get our arms around cancer, research treatments, and raise funds to find a cure,” Dana detailed.

Last year, Dana wanted to raise money by thinking outside the box. To that end, she recruited her childhood friend, Don Tarrant, who had lost both his parents to cancer. Don organized the Fun Run Rally. The rally led motorcyclists on a 31-mile course that ended in a party with prizes and awards. “Don had a group of women we called Don’s Girls, who were out-and-about in town, collecting items for the silent and live auctions. They found manly things that bikers would bid on, but they also ended up with some beauty items. We all laughed when a tough Harley-riding man would win a mani-pedi, but we raised over $8,000!” Dana announced.

Dana’s team also organized a spaghetti dinner and a pancake breakfast with the help of Applebee’s. In addition, the Pat Grady Memorial and Lakeside Chevrolet sponsored a barbeque lunch in the parking lot of American National Bank, with live music provided by local chiropractor, Dr. Shem Ray, and his friends. This year Dana has added more people to her team: Kelli Wilson, Norman and Christie Kirk, Lauri Hairston Trammell, Craig Musser, Gary and Terri Barto, John Monk, and Kay Talley to help her coordinate the fundraising dinner, breakfast, and barbeque and they’re adding a jewelry/book sale at The Harbor, as well.

Another exciting way that Dana is thinking outside the box in terms of generating awareness and enthusiasm for the 2012 Rockwall County Relay For Life is the creation of Paint the Town Purple Day. Dana’s friend Terri Haws Davis has volunteered to chair the event. Their goal is to have the mayor of Rockwall issue a proclamation dedicating the day to cancer awareness.  School children and their teachers would don purple t-shirts for the day, and local businesses would show their support for Relay For Life by announcing it on their marquees.

Lance Holland lost his battle with cancer in the fall of 2011 at the age of 48.

“My sister lost her best friend and confidant. She’s experienced the terrible tragedy of what cancer is,” Dana stated with tears in her blue eyes.

For this year’s Rockwall County Relay For Life, which is being held on April 27-28 at Cain Middle School, Dana plans on being a member of two teams—the Regal Realtors team and the Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce Chamber Crusaders.

“I am passionate about this. I will Relay until there’s a cure,” Dana promised.

May 5-6

Jewelry and Book Sale at The Harbor- Books & Bling Benefit

For more information about Relay For Life, visit RelayForLife.org/Rockwalltx.

Story and photo submitted by Mary Thacker.

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