Carol Otis named American Cancer Society Hero of Hope


    By Susan Williams
    Special to The SUN

    The Great West Division of the American Cancer Society has selected Carol Otis of Pagosa Springs as a 2012-2013 Hero of Hope.

    As a Hero of Hope, Otis has demonstrated a commitment to the fight against cancer through her inspiration and contribution to the Archuleta County American Cancer Society Relay for Life event.

    Otis was diagnosed with cancer at age 70, after a routine mammogram detected a malignant tumor. She underwent surgery and 16 consecutive sessions of radiation at Mercy Hospital in Durango. Otis was offered an alternative “Canadian Protocol” treatment, compared to six to eight weeks of radiation (which is typical in the U.S.) and considers it a gift.

    “My experience was the most frightening one I’ve had in my entire life. The isolation, fear and confusion was overwhelming.”

    Following diagnosis, Carol began actively fighting back against cancer through starting a local Pagosa Springs support group, serving on the Archuleta County Relay For Life planning committee, and advocating for cancer patients both locally and across the nation.

    Heroes of Hope are selected based on their attitude to inspire hope, courage and determination in the fight against cancer. These cancer survivors also have demonstrated exemplary involvement with the Society’s Relay for Life event. In addition to fundraising over $1,000 for her Relay team, Otis has served on the Archuleta County Relay for Life Planning Committee and started the Pagosa Springs Cancer Support Group. Otis devotes her time to Relay for Life in hopes that someday having cancer will be eliminated.

    As a Hero of Hope, Otis will be instrumental in working with the society to broaden the outreach of survivorship throughout the year for Relay for Life and serve as a society spokesperson to share her inspiring story.

    The American Cancer Society saves lives and creates more birthdays by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back. To learn more about ACS or to get help, call (800) 227-2345, day or night, or visit

    For information about the Pagosa Springs Cancer Support Group or Relay For Life, please contact Susan Williams at 247-1667 or