Relay For Life: Battle with cancer is still fresh in RHS principal's mind
Greg Clausen has long been aware of Rosemount's Relay for Life. The
Rosemount High School principal works just a few hundred yards from
the track where the event is held each year, so it would be hard for
him to miss it.
But Clausen has never participated in the event. Then again, while he
has done several other cancer walks in honor of a sister-in-law who
has breast cancer, cancer has never been quite so personal for
Clausen as it is these days.
This year, Clausen is getting involved in the Relay for Life as one
of two honorary co-chairs.
Clausen was diagnosed with leukemia April 25, 2005, after going to
the doctor to check out an inflamed achilles. He was in the hospital
for 32 straight days and for 74 days altogether. Even when he was out
of the hospital he had 44 separate doctor's appointments to keep. He
didn't know until a few days before last year's graduation whether he
would be able to attend.
"Graduation is a meaningful event. It's a highlight of the year and
something I wanted to try to do," Clausen said in June of 2005.
Clausen made it to graduation, and he was back to work full time
starting with the second trimester of the 2005-06 school year. He
still gets tired after particularly long days - the last few weeks of
the school year really wore him out - but life is slowly getting back
"The only thing right now is kind of the stamina," Clausen said. "I
get some tiredness. Otherwise my checkups have been good."
Now, Clausen has a better idea what cancer means for people. He knows
how it affected his life. He knows it almost kept him from an event
he considers very important and, if things hadn't worked out as well
as they have, could have kept him away forever.
He also understands what the American Cancer Society does for
people. He visited the society's web sites when he was undergoing
treatment to educate himself about his disease. He took advantage of
cancer society-sponsored support systems.
So Clausen was quick to accept when some of his students asked him to
get involved in this year's Relay for Life.
RHS students have played a big role in bringing new life to the Relay for Life.
"I was very honored that they would think of me, and then it kind of
hits home that you're being honored for having a life-threatening
disease," Clausen said. "It seems kind of ironic in some ways, but it
was very nice of them to think of me."
Clausen will address the crowd June 23. He plans to talk about what
he went through and about how he felt at the time. He still hasn't
worked out all of the details of his speech, but he has an idea what
he will say.
Clausen also plans to take part in the Relay for Life. That should
make for a long weekend. He and his wife plan to leave early on the
morning the walk finishes for an out-of-town wedding.