Brother, sister share touching cancer story

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Among the 5,000 participants that walked around Tempe Town Lake for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk Saturday morning were a brother and sister with a very special story.

Michael Rioux battled insurgents in Afghanistan while his sister, Patty Demers, was fighting cancer here in Phoenix. Then one day Patty got a call from half way around the world. 

It was her big brother telling her to check her email. What she saw gave her the courage to fight for her life.

Michael sent her a picture of his entire company holding a handwritten sign on cardboard that read “For Patty”. Each and every one one of them had shaved their heads in support of her chemo treatments, and all these brave men she had never met wanted her to know they stood behind her.

One month after the photo was taken, two of the soldiers died in a firefight.

Patty never got the chance to thank them so Saturday she and her brother walked as part of team “Patty’s Soldiers” in their honor.