SYSK: Cancer survivor and long-time Relay for Life volunteer Ken - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Cancer survivor and long-time Relay for Life volunteer Ken Earnest


Thyroid and prostate. Those are the two types of cancers Ken Earnest has survived. Besides a cancer survivor, he's also a long-time relay for life volunteer.

He began volunteering almost 20 years ago when his son was on the committee and asked him to help. He's been around ever since.

"What I enjoy him bringing to the table is his enthusiasm. He's very enthusiastic about our relay," said fellow volunteer Candy Nardini.

Ken wasn't as involved with this year's relay because of medical issues. He had a knee replacement, got a major infection and lost part of his leg.

But Ken said he didn't lose any of his heart.

"Life is good," said Ken Earnest.

As a survivor, as a volunteer and as a motivator, Ken wanted to be at Hawkeye Community College for the Black Hawk County Relay for Life.

"Once cancer touches you, you're not going to forget it," said Earnest.

"He brings hope because as a two-time cancer survivor he's offering hope to other cancer survivors and also the care givers because he knows the importance of the care giver in the healing process of the cancer patient," said Candy Nardini.

His friend and fellow cancer survivor Russ Bentley helped Ken during the survivor's lap.

"I don't think there's a family around that isn't affected by cancer," said Ken Earnest.

According to the State Health Registry, at least 720 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year in Black Hawk County alone.

"Cancer will take some things away from you but you can survive it," said Earnest.

Ken Earnest said Relay for Life is a great time to celebrate. To celebrate survivors and the hope of finding a cure, which is why ken wants to be here and plans to participate year after year.

Until last year, Ken was the accounting chair for Relay for Life. Ken's son, who got him to volunteer in the first place, is now part of the national American Cancer Society Board.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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