Gahanna Middle School South student Nicole Potts celebrated a clean bill of health Friday by participating in Johnstown's Relay For Life.

The 13-year-old cancer survivor had a rare form of Hodgkin's in a lymph node by her neck that was removed in December.

Hodgkin's is a type of lymphoma originating in the white blood cells.

"Today I went back to the doctor for a follow-up and everything was fine," she said.

Potts capped the good news by attending a cancer survivor's dinner with Johnstown friends and participating in the village's third annual Relay For Life.

The Relay is the American Cancer Society's national signature event that brings together teams of families and friends from local companies, schools and organizations to walk around a track in relay fashion. All proceeds raised from the event are used for cancer research, education, prevention and patient services.

"Even though my cancer was small, it showed me that I was taking my life for granted," Potts said. "It made me look at things differently."

She said the suspicious lump near her neck first appeared when she was in the fourth grade.

After a change in physicians, she had a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan and ultrasound that didn't reveal any problems with the lymph node. She and her parents made the decision to have it removed Dec. 23, 2009.

"Then, two weeks later, they said it was a rare form of Hodgkin's," Potts said. "I had some scans and everything came out fine; nothing spread."

Her mother, Marie Potts, said the cancer was localized.

"The vigilance of the doctor saved her life," she said.

Nicole said she had a "strong feeling" everything would work out for the best, despite the worry of her family.

She now enjoys supporting cancer fundraisers and making healthy choices like exercise part of her daily life.

"A week ago I went to Skate for Hope (an annual figure-skating charity)," Potts said.

Blacklick's Flanagan's Pub also supported Johnstown's June 25-26 event by donating T-shirts to the Jim's Chicks team in honor of the late Jim Charles of Johnstown.

Although the 13-member team included men, they didn't mind being part of a team called Jim's Chicks, said Cheryl Charles, Jim's sister.

"He loved chickens," Charles said. "I had five brothers, and he was my favorite."

The T-shirts had chicken tracks on the back and were purple, the color representing esophageal cancer of which Jim Charles died.

Flanagan's became involved because Charles' daughter lives in Blacklick, Cheryl Charles said.

Although donations still were being calculated as of ThisWeek's press time, Johnstown's Relay For Life already had raised $40,000 for the American Cancer Society.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com