Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - On a plain, white paper bag, Maggie Ising writes two names.
“This is for Chris and Ann Ising,” she said.
Ising and her older sister Katie lost both their parents to cancer in one year.
Their father Chris died of pancreatic cancer the week of Ising’s high school graduation. Her mother, just weeks later, was diagnosed with throat cancer and lived less than a year.
Ising said, “ I turned 18 the week after my dad passed, and I was 18 when my mom did.”
The Centers for Disease Control said every year cancer kills more than half a million Americans.
One in every four deaths in the U.S. is due to cancer, but for some families, cancer doesn’t stop with one person.
Friday night, Ising will be doing her part to halt the cruel march of cancer. She will be walking with hundreds of others.
“It just kind of motivates me to keep their fight alive, and I do it for them because they can’t do it anymore.” She said each step brings her closer to her goal of whipping the horrible disease.
“I just don’t think it’s fair because I sometimes get really jealous when I see other people and their parents, and I don’t see why I had to lose both,” Ising said.
Friday night, Ising will be joined by hundreds of other University of Louisville students in the annual Relay for Life.
At the campus grill recently, Ising and Tessa Barnes encouraged other students to join them Friday night.
They also sell the white paper bags. Hundreds of names and symbols are written on bags that will line the Relay For Life walk. When the bags are aglow with candle light, they become tributes to cancer victims and cancer survivors.
Barnes said, “When the lights go out and the bags are the only thing that’s lit up, after people light bags for their moms and dads and granddads and soon – it’s moving.”
The University of Louisville Relay For Life is Friday, April 18 at the Student Activities Center from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday.
Ising will be there. She’ll be walking and making a difference, one step at a time for the people she loves and lost to cancer.
She said, “I’m tired of cancer. I think I’ve seen enough.”