Family triumphs over illness

Alisa Boswell

After overcoming health obstacles from breast cancer to kidney failure, a Portales family may be the very definition of perseverance.

Joab “Sid” Savage had an ambition to work towards raising money for breast cancer research and survivors. In doing so, he raised donations totaling $4,850 to take first place in Relay for Life fundraising for the entire division, which includes New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

He says his inspiration comes from living with the struggles of his mother, Scotty Savage.

Scotty said she was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and after one year of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, she was cancer-free.

“Of course your initial reaction is disbelief,” Scotty said. “I didn’t tell anyone for a long time until right when I was about to take treatment. It was as if not telling would mean it wasn’t true.”

Last year marked another trying time for the Savage family as Scotty was once again diagnosed with cancer immediately following the news that her husband, Rod, had kidney failure.

Scotty said this time, she turned to her friends for moral support immediately, having learned from her first experience that support was exactly what she needed.

“I learned a lot from that first time, because the outpouring of love I received was amazing,” Scotty said. “The support of my kids has been amazing. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Sid Savage came to his parents’ aid during their time of illness, from having a group of young men clean their house to moving back in with his parents.

“It was really scary. When they called me and told me my father had in-stage kidney failure, I drove down to Lubbock and it was so hard to see him that way,” Sid said. “You think ‘what have I done for them?’ You feel really helpless. You feel really terrible that you can’t help someone you love when they need it the most.”

The new year brought good news for the Savage family. Before Sid could move out of his apartment, his father regained kidney function and his mother began to improve with treatments.

“It makes you so much more motivated to have a personal relationship with someone who has gone through that,” Sid said of his fundraising. “We raised a bulk of the money within three days.”

In recent years, Sid has run marathons which raise money for breast cancer and this year, a co-worker from J. P. Stone Community Bank, Katie Redfield, approached him about joining a Relay for Life team and helping to raise money.

“I thought ‘great.’ This is a great way to give back to people who have gone through this and to my mother,” Sid said.

He said he had raised under $1,000 for the Relay for Life fundraising competition when he received a phone call that he was among the top five in the state. He and his mother contacted as many people as they could and had them contacting even more people in an attempt to raise more funds for the Relay for Life.

His prize for raising the most money, other than a brand new iPad, is his mother leading breast cancer survivors in their walk and giving an inspirational talk this weekend at the Portales Relay for Life.

“It’s quite an honor and I’m really proud that it was brought about by my son’s hard work,” Scotty said. “Words can’t tell anyone how proud I am of him.”