The little racers and their families honoured the memory of a special young woman at their annual Melinda Rose Hathaway Memorial Race on Saturday at the Langley Quarter Midget Association’s race track in south Aldergrove.
A memorial plaque was unveiled that day at the track by her parents, Joanne and David, along with LQMA representative Scott Silas and Township mayor Jack Froese.
Melinda lost her battle with cancer on Sept. 15, 1996 at the tender age of 15, but not before she realized her ambition to drive a race car.
She had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Askin’s tumor when she was only 12. The doctors did not believe that she would survive more than a couple of weeks, but she refused to go easily and fought back with all her energy.
She underwent many radiation treatments and went into a partial remission. She was told it would be impossible for her to drive a race car, but once again, she became all the more determined to prove everyone else wrong.
So it was that in 195 a number of the LQMA members helped her to build a car and got Melinda out to several races.
Her family said that when she wore a racing helmet and drove very fast nobody could see that she looked any different from the other kids who were racing — and the other racers didn’t treat her differently than anyone else either.
Her father, David created a web page to help other children dealing with cancer, giving them the courage to fight back like Melinda.
Melinda and her family spent her final moments together at Canuck Place Hospice for Children.
In Melinda’s words, “Life is much better when you concentrate on the things that you can do and on the things you have, instead of sulking and worrying about the things that you can’t do or that you can’t have.”