AUSTIN, Minn. - When Barb Nelson dove in as a volunteer last fall for Austin's annual "Paint the Town Pink" fundraiser, she could never have predicted how relevant the event would be when it finally rolled around.
The ten day fundraiser for breast cancer research runs through February 10th. Planning was in the final stages when Barb found out the breast cancer she first battled in 2011 is back - and it's bad.
"I have cancer right here, right here, right here, right here," says Barb, moving a hand around her head. The cancer is in her brain, both lungs, her lower back, right shoulder, and left hip. "So it's pretty much all over," she says. She's already started radiation. Chemo is next. Her chances of surviving are slim - and she knows it.
Last year "Paint the Town Pink" raised more than $62,000 for the breast cancer research at the Hormel Institue in Austin, a research facilty run by the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. The goal this year is even higher - but then so are the stakes.
No one knows that better than Barb. Three years ago she also lost her husband to cancer. It started in his pancreas. Jeffrey Nelson was 47 when he died. Barb is 46.
Now she looks at photos of her kids and grandkids and worries. "I just hope it doesn't go through my family anymore."
The fight against cancer takes resolve. It's hard to imagine Austin having a more committed volunteer.
"I want to stop it for everybody," Barb says.
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