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Rambo: 'Early detection is the answer'

Long before Lisa Rambo was on the world stage in the hit show The Biggest Loser, she was a cancer survivor.

Lisa Rambo, a Hudson native and recent Biggest Loser contestant, doesn't generally talk about being a cancer survivor. She is, however, one of the honorary co-chairpersons for Hudson's Relay For Life which takes place on Friday and Saturday.

"It was a very brief deal," said Rambo. "I don't talk a lot about it because it was a brush with cancer not a battle."

After a series of abnormal pap tests, it was discovered she had early stage cervical cancer. That was five years ago.

"After the sixth abnormal one, it was decided that maybe we should check this out," said Rambo. One complication prior to this was that Rambo was pregnant with her fourth child when the abnormal results started to show up. A biopsy was done in June of 2008 and the diagnosis of cancer was confirmed. "By October I had a complete hysterectomy, everything was taken out." She did not need further treatment.

"I already had four amazing kids so the decision was easy to have the hysterectomy," said Rambo, who has been monitored with PET scans every six months until this year. Now having reached the five year mark it will be annual scans moving forward.

"I really believe early detection is the key," said Rambo. "If you catch things early that is half the battle."

"For the people who are in the heat of the battle, the relay is their hope that help is on the horizon," said Rambo. "I want to be a part of finding a cure for those people. I choose to make time for people who are struggling with cancer. I have people in my own family who are in that battle right now."

"I have heard a handful of stories of people who were in the end stage of cancer with only months to live, and due to new drug discoveries they are now planning out their future years," said Rambo. "If we didn't have the Relay For Life these things would not be happening."

Rambo looks to the day when the horrors of chemotherapy and radiation are treatments of last resort.

"They are coming out with new drugs that are pills, that don't have the side effects. So I want to keep that ball rolling," continued Rambo, who also wants to be involved because of her new found health as a result of being on the Biggest Loser. "I want to help others to be healthy."

As to the relay, in addition to being a co-chair, Rambo is on a team called Lend A Hand.

"My students formed this relay team and raised $1,000," said Rambo, who is a special education assistant at Hudson High School.

"My students are some of the most inspiring people. They work bravely through life on a daily basis. The joy that they carry is contagious. I think about my students a lot and all the gifts and lessons they have taught me."

Rambo's students have also created a number of luminaries for the relay as well.

"We all have to remember that we are making strides (towards a cure) and we have to keep going," said Rambo, who thinks back to her brush with cancer. "I knew that something was wrong." It is a reminder that early detection is really a key for survival. Rambo will make speak during the opening ceremony for the Relay for Life.