Her son Christopher Wynn said, "I don't think cancer should exist".
Utilizing a strict regimen of radiation and chemotherapy, however, doctors successfully contained the tumor.
One of the world's largest grassroots fundraising movements, "Relay for Life" mobilizes communities to celebrate people who have battled cancer.
Residents, community organizations and businesses create teams to raise funds in various ways.
Hastings Family YMCA activities and loud party music kept participants hopping, along with a bouncy house for youngsters and photo booth that was particularly popular with teenagers.
All donations made are 100 percent tax deductible.
"We're all here for the same cause - to find a cure", said JoAnn Monteleone, the founder of the Highlands Relay for Life. We are the only one, to-date, to be an overnight event.
Once a community-wide event, now a school-run function, Relay for Life has marked another successful year. For the second year, organizers hosted a "wings-eating challenge".
The luminaria ceremony - a staple of Relay for Life events involving lighting candles took place but had to be scaled back because of inclement weather and high winds. Over 280 participants were a part of teams that helped raise money for cancer research.
Another perennial crowd pleaser, Nick Wilkins (aka Broadway the Clown), was on hand with a juggling act he took from the crowd right onto the track, where he participated as a cancer survivor.
11 p.m.: Closing ceremony. Prior to that, he discussed the significance of the event.
"I hope there's a cure found in my lifetime", she said. Diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1977, Ely said that diagnosis was hard to overcome.
Steve said he was diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer a decade ago, while his wife previously battled breast cancer on two occasions.
"We raised $1,600", she said, "since starting in December. We walk for them".
"There was a moment of shock where your mind just kind of goes blank and you wonder if you really heard what you just heard", she said.
She continued to say, "I am currently still in treatment, I've been on chemo now for the last five years".
And years later, like many survivors, the prospect of a recurrence still lingers in her mind.
Even so, Friday's event provided a useful reminder about the combination of faith and determination that allowed her to survive. Throughout the day entertainment took the front stage with guests such as IDCI's own PIT band, the We Will Rock You cast, and other student acts.
"You have to stay positive, and you can not give up", she said.