Rachel Wallace wasn't at the closing ceremonies of the Langley Relay for Life, to pick up her award for raising the most money of any individual in 2012.
Wallace, who collected exactly $10,000.25, had rushed to hospital with her fiancé, Craig Clarke, after he suffered a seizure just after 4 a.m.
Clarke, 23, was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumour last August. It swiftly progressed from a slight clumsiness walking to paralysis.
It came as a shock to Wallace, who had already been a member of the Grove Turtles team for the previous two years.
She had found the team through co-workers, after her grandmother had cancer.
"That was the original motivation," Wallace said.
The New Westminster resident has eagerly come out to Langley to take part in fundraising events for the past few years.
When Clarke got sick, however, she went into overdrive.
She estimates that she raised more than $3,000 in the last week. She's organized barbecues, golf tournaments, car washes and garage sales.
"I think I've raised $1,500 in the last three days," Wallace said.
After Clarke's diagnosis, "There was a lot of extra support for me," she said of her team.
Clarke's seizure seems to have been induced by a blood sugar issue, she told the Langley Advance on Monday.
"He's getting steadier," she said.
At a tent on the opposite side of the track, Jerry Gibbons and the Papa's Journey team were settled in for another year at Relay for Life.
Given Gibbons diagnosis, it's amazing that he can attend this year.
Like Wallace, he had been a Relay supporter for years, but in 2011, he abruptly collapsed at work. A CAT scan found a tumour, an aggressive glioblastoma.
Yet this year, Gibbons said he feels pretty good.
"More tired than anything," he said, but he's still walking the family dog.
The tumour, and the surgery to remove it, cost him the ability to read, and he's suffered some memory loss as well.
During the ordeal, he's relied on his wife Sue more than anyone.
"Sue's by my side constantly," he said. "Having
my wife here means a lot to me. She's my main support."
Sue herself was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Their large extended family keeps them going.
"My family and friends mean a lot to me," Gibbons said. "They don't seem to give up on me."