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Cancer's other victims

Kyle Goetz, right, said dealing with his father Kirk's cancer was difficult at first, but now, the ten-year-old said he rarely even thinks about it anymore. Submitted photo

Kyle Goetz was just one year-old when his father Kirk was diagnosed in 2000 with plasmacytomas, a type of multiple myeloma cancer.

"I kinda got scared the first time my dad had cancer because I didn't know if it was the bad kind of cancer or the one that the doctor's have everything in control and stuff," the now-10-year-old said. "But then mom and dad kept telling me everything is going to be OK, and it was."

That wasn't the last sign of cancer for Kirk, though -- he was diagnosed two additional times, once in 2005 and again in 2008.

Being a child of a cancer survivor can be a difficult thing for such a young boy to understand or deal with, but Kyle said now that his dad is in the clear for the time being, it's life as normal.

"Since it's kind of over with, I kind of forget about it and don't really think about it anymore," he said. "Now I'm kind of letting it go."

That hasn't stopped Kyle from doing everything he can to help with cancer research and relief efforts.

For Kyle's last birthday he decided to forgo presents from his friends, in lieu of donations for Relay for Life.

"I got enough presents from my family," he said. "I wasn't too sad about donating my presents, I actually liked it, we got to play more and have fun sooner instead of spending time opening presents. Plus It's really fun just donating money to help the Relay."

Kyle and his two brothers participate in the Relay every year on their father's team of 15. Last year, the team raised close to $5,000.

"Relay for Life is a lot of fun," Kyle said. "I like that there's a lot of friends there, and it's fun to just crash the place and explore."

Kyle and his younger brothers haven't stayed the entire night yet though, not that they haven't wanted to.

"We've had some tears about having to leave Relay early," Kyle's mother Heather said.

In addition to being able to have fun outdoors with his friends, Kyle said it's really nice knowing that he's making a difference in his father's, and other's, lives.

"It's a really good feeling know that I'm helping my dad and other families," Kyle said. "And he's really fun to spend time with my dad and bond."

Even though Kirk has been clear for the past year, Kyle said there is still that fear in the back of his mind that something may happen to his father.

"Sometimes I kind of worry about if maybe a couple years from now he'll be diagnosed again, and then I wonder if he's actually going to die this time," he said. "It's really scare to think about, but that's why Relay is so great."

For more information about Relay for Life, to donate or to sign up, visit the Woodbury Relay for Life website at:

The 2009 Relay for Life of Woodbury will be held June 19 at Ojibway Park.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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