Lifes opportunities

Justin Dickie
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Cancer leads to wealth of experience

AMHERST - Daren White has learned to seize every opportunity available.

Lifes opportunities

AMHERST - Daren White has learned to seize every opportunity available.

So when the Relay For Life organizing committee asked him to deliver the opening ceremony's keynote address, it was a no brainer.

"It's like it was destiny," White said.

How was it destiny?

The story dates back two months ago when White went to the Relay's co-chair Bev Hennigar and asked if he could be more involved in this year's Relay. She said she'd get him something to do.

Later that same day, another member of the organizing committee called White, asking him if he'd give the cancer survivor's speech at this year's Relay For Life at Robb's complex. She hadn't spoken to Hennigar.

"I was trying to find something to do, and somebody else asked me to do something, so I had to do it," White said.

He was asked to tell his survival story, but he decided to go a different route. He wanted to thank cancer.

"I don't think my story is any more special than anyone else's story who has been through cancer and has survived," he said. "Because I've had cancer I try different things now. I want experiences.

"If I hadn't gotten cancer, there's all kinds of things I wouldn't have done."

He also didn't want to bore people with a long speech. He decided to put his own twist on the keynote address and chose to write a song.

He tried different tempos, rhythms, and chords but nothing seemed to fit. Then destiny struck again.

Less than two weeks after being asked to speak, a friend of his sent out an e-mail saying his daughter has leukemia and needs a bone marrow donor.

"I was reading the e-mail, I picked up my guitar, and it was there. It was the strangest thing," he said. "I got the rhythm from the letter that he wrote."

After two months of preparation, White fought his emotions, dealt with his nerves and took to the stage to perform "The Yellow Shirt of Hope," the first song he ever wrote. He seized another opportunity he wouldn't have had without cancer.

"I want to thank the disease because it has given me the best experiences that I would have missed," he said.

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Recent comments

  • Helen
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    Nice to see something in the news about Relay for Life in Amherst. It is surprisingly that the local newspaper has done very little to carry human interest stories relative to events leading up to and fund-raising events as well as details on this event.

    Come on local newspaper - let's share in the good stories!