Survivor spreading the word about cancer
Janie Livingston, as a booster of the annual Relay For Life activities in North Augusta, may have an unusually deep appreciation for the American Cancer Society fundraiser, by way of personal experience.
A survivor of uterine cancer, she traveled an unusual route in discovering she was in danger a few years ago. She is planning to be a part of the team taking part in this year’s event, set for Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight in North Augusta High School’s stadium.
“I originally got involved because my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and then he passed away unexpectedly in ... February of 2010, but it was from heart issues,” she said.
By that time, she had already established a Relay For Life team entitled “the Green team,” reflecting her father’s last name.
After her dad’s death, she and her husband, Bernard Livingston Jr., were looking to expand their family.
“We had had issues with that, and we kept ... putting it off, so then, after he passed, you get kind of sentimental, and you think, Oh, your father’s in heaven. He’ll send you a baby,’” she said, with a laugh.
The Livingstons got in touch with a fertility doctor, and in the course of going through the various procedures, her cancer came to light, “so he didn’t send me a baby, but he saved my life.”
The results included a hysterectomy, so babies are out of the question, but spreading the word about cancer remains a part of Livingston’s personal agenda. She pointed out that her type of cancer might easily have avoided detection.
“The type of uterine cancer is usually in women that are around 60, and I am 38, and that was in 2010 ... so that’s not something they’re usually screening for, in someone my age,” she said.
“There ... isn’t any reason to check for it, so with someone my age, if it’s caught, it’s usually too late.”
Livingston, who works in Augusta as a credit and collections manager, didn’t take part in the 2010 Relay For Life, because she was still on the rebound from surgery. She missed the 2011 event as well, “because I think I was a little down in the dumps a little in denial.”
In 2012, however, the Green Team was back together, raising money in Aiken. Up until that point, she hadn’t been aware of North Augusta having a Relay For Life. This year’s event will be her first in North Augusta.
She knows the neighborhood, having spent most of her years in Aiken County.
“My father was military,” she said, confirming that her early childhood included plenty of mileage with her dad, Joseph, and her mom, SonHui.
North Augusta, however, was her dad’s hometown, “so once he retired, we moved back, so I’ve been here since I ... was 13,” Livingston said.
Michael D. Lott, Livingston’s son, is also going through his teenage years in the CSRA as a senior at North Augusta High School. The 18-year-old is active in the Yellow Jackets’ Naval Junior ROTC program and is on track to attend the College of Charleston.
The mother of the house, a 1993 graduate of Midland Valley High School, is preparing for the 20th anniversary of her graduating class. Her background also includes classes at Augusta State University and Aiken Technical College, along with an associate degree in business, with a major in accounting. She is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in business, via online studies with Capella University.