ST. LOUIS -- There are typically two kinds of cancer stories; those where the individual is victorious over it, and those where they are not.
Some would point out that people currently locked in a struggle with the disease don't fall into either group. But since every day spent on the right side of the grass is a positive; I'm going to chalk that up to a victory in itself.
When events like Saturday's Susan G. Komen Race St. Louis for the Cure come around, everyone has a story. Some have more than one, and not all of them have happy endings.
This year, there were at least 22,000 stories, likely more, to be told at the annual event in St. Louis.
You will find four of them in the following paragraphs, and half will not end the way anyone wanted them to.
In the early to mid-90's Lisa Probst's grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. It was a tough time for the 18 year old, but at first, things looked like they could work out.
Lisa's grandmother, Mildred, beat her cancer and earned a few more years with her family. It came back in the late 90's and by October 2000, Mildred could not fight it anymore. Her death inspired the women in her family to annually check for cancer.
Not long after that, Wanda Sanders went in for a routine mammogram of her own. Sanders isn't connected to the Probsts in any way, other than she shares the same vile impediment to a long life; cancer. When her doctor delivered the news, he told her it was good news and bad news. The bad news was that she had cancer, the good news was that they caught it early.
"I had 30-some treatments of radiation, but lucky for me I didn't have it in the lymph nodes so they didn't do the chemo," said Sanders.
At first, Sanders said she was considering waiting on treatment since the cancer was not advanced. Her family quickly convinced her otherwise. This year Wanda celebrates 7 years as a survivor.
It's a length of time that the friends and family of Amy Lewis can only wish she had.
Lewis was diagnosed with breast cancer at 35 years old, and beat it. With four kids and a husband she still had things to do in this world. The cancer had other plans. It would return to Lewis, this time attacking multiple parts of her body aggressively. She died four months after being diagnosed.
Her friend Jaime Hill was at Saturday's event, and admitted she was barely keeping it together.
"This year is a hard year, for everybody," said Hill. "I cried my whole morning getting ready."
Hill stood next to the Harley Davidson motorcycle Lewis's father would drive her around on. It was decorated with pink feathers, flowers, and frills. On the front was a large pink ribbon with Lewis's birth and death dates.
"We need to find a way to beat [cancers] butt, and get rid of it," said Hill. "Cancer needs to get cancer."
Beating cancer is never an easy task. It can be painful, nauseating, exhausting, and potentially fruitless. But when you are successful, it is a reminder to everyone in your life; from family, to friends, to co-workers, that the time we have on this planet is never guaranteed.
Lisa Probst knows that all too well. Last summer, more than a decade after her grandmother Mildred lost her battle with cancer, it came calling on her family once more. This time, the found a lump on Lisa's mother's breast during one of those routine mammograms they had been getting.
After a biopsy and a surgery to remove the cancerous lump, they found the center of it was malignant. While her mother couldn't join her at this year's event, it still offers hope. Hope that through research cures can be found so that her daughter, and eventually her granddaughters, will never have to live in fear of finding a lump in their breast.
For now, Lisa will cherish every day she has with them and her mother.