Sonja Luker cancer bike ride raises $9K

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009

By By Adam Prestridge
Dogwood Park resident Sonja Luker was overwhelmed with emotions Labor Day at the outpouring of support she and her family received during the “Sonja’s Kicking Cancer” benefit held at Alabama Wing House in Atmore.
According to one of the events’ organizers and close friend, Pam Kleinatland, $9,000 was raised to help with medical bills for Luker, who has been battling a rare form of cancer for five years.
Luker’s appreciation was shown throughout the day as she personally thanked numerous organizers and supporters with thank you cards as well as hugs.
Kleinatland along with Alabama Wing House owners Ronnie and Jessica Cloud, Atmore Ambulance owners Frank and Karen Jay and numerous other friends helped to organize the cancer benefit, which was decided on a spur of the moment. For such little time that was allotted for preparation, Kleinatland said she was more than pleased with the turnout.
Luker is currently undergoing chemotherapy and will continue for another 24 days. She was diagnosed on Thanksgiving Day five years ago. Since, she has had two brain tumors, Stage 2 stomach cancer, female cancer and currently has small cell lung cancer.
Li-Fraumeni syndrome is an extraordinary cancer family syndrome. The spectrum of cancers in LFS has been shown to include breast cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, brain tumors, a bone tumor called osteosarcoma, leukemia, and a tumor of the adrenal gland (adrenocortical carcinoma): an incredible range of malignancies.
The Li-Fraumeni syndrome has been found to be due to a mutation (a heritable change) in a gene that normally serves to curb cancer: the p53 tumor-suppressor gene. LFS has been of considerable importance to the understanding of the genetics and molecular biology of cancer.
Fortunately, there is a treatment that “tricks” the body into thinking it has the necessary hormones and proteins needed to stop the cancers from reoccurring, Luker said. She will begin the hormone/protein treatment at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla. next Monday, which doctors have had success with.
Kleinatland said once she found out her friend was diagnosed with LFS and that there was a treatment for it, she and many others were ready to help their friend who has helped so many.
As for the Cloud’s hospitality and use of their restaurant, Kleinatland said she could not have asked for anything more.
A 200-mile poker run, which will begin from Alabama Wing House, has also been scheduled on Oct. 17.
Luker has been married to her Ernest Ward High School sweetheart, Chris, for 23 years. The couple have two children, Timothy, 22, and Samantha, 21.

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