BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Relay for Life officially begins Saturday with the survivors lap. Around 1,500 people who have beaten cancer will kick off the 24-hour event.
Every year, there are new faces added to the group. Alberto Castro will be one of those new faces. He beat kidney cancer and says he will be giving thanks to God, everyone who supported him, and in his words, his nagging wife.
In 1977, Alberto Castro married his long-time love, Rosie. They've been married for 35 years.
"I call her my nagging wife, but she's my true love," said Alberto.
It was out of love that nearly two years ago, Rosie wouldn't stop nagging Alberto to go to the doctor, even though he said he felt just fine.
"I kept having to bug him because he canceled once and I had to reschedule, and I said you are going. So he finally went," said Rosie.
"Within a week and a half, they had me on the operating table and they took out my right kidney," said Alberto.
Doctors found a mass, Stage One kidney cancer, in July 2011. A year's worth of chemotherapy treatments began. He lost 60 pounds, some of his hair, and what remained turned white. He was able to attend only a couple hours of last year's Relay for Life, too weak to walk, he found strength just being there.
"For me, when I run into others that have been fighting for a long time, they really lift me up with their stories of, with their difficulties they've had in their battles," said Alberto.
Now, cancer free, Alberto hopes to lift others' spirits with his story, walking for the first time this year in the survivors lap.
"You know it's emotional cause as you go through this you think about many things. You think about being there for your grandkids, your kids, and I get a little emotional. You know, but that's been my main thing is being there for my family," said Alberto trying to hold back tears.
A family he started 35 years ago with his wife can now carry on, cancer free and nagging accepted.
"She's the one that made me go get a checkup even though I wasn't feeling any pain or anything," said Alberto.
"I'm just so blessed that he's around for the grandkids and for me, you know, a lot more memories to make," said Rosie.
Alberto, Rosie, and their children will be there for the survivors lap Saturday morning. It starts at 10 a.m.