Cancer survivors, caregivers rally for Relay
Published 10:09 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The Franklin-Southampton Relay For Life took place on Saturday, raising more than $70,000 benefiting the American Cancer Society.
“Relay is about gathering with survivors and hearing their different stories. It’s an inspiration for us to do more to help the cause,” said Mary Boone, a survivor.
In addition for the opportunity to fundraise, the Relay For Life serves an opportunity for cancer survivors to assemble and show support for one another.
“Relay is a connection with new people who have become survivors that lets them know that they are not alone and that we are in this together,” said Wanda Murrell, a cancer survivor and member of the Pleasant Plains Cruisers For Life Relay team.
“This is my second Relay, and I really looked forward to this one because I have found that this is a special time for us to meet other survivors and celebrate,” said Geraldine Odum, a fellow survivor.
“You see all the commercials that say ‘one in three people have cancer’ and it doesn’t really hit home until you come to an event like this,” said Jerry Nahrebecki, a caregiver to his wife, Debbie. “[Relay] provides a sense of camaraderie and a sense of support among those in the community affected by cancer.”
Every year, the event organizers kick off Relay by calling out the names of each survivor present, and invite them and their caregivers to walk the ceremonial first lap.
“I was very emotional when I did my walk because it was proof that God is still working in my life,” said Nikki Outlaw, a survivor who was diagnosed with five different cancers in 2013.
The Survivors’ Lap is followed by the Team Lap, in which the 19 teams that worked to fundraise for the event begin the relay itself, ensuring that at least one member from every time walks laps from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Participating teams this year included delegates from Southampton High School, High Street United Methodist and Southampton Memorial Hospital.
The local Boy Scouts of America provided assistance in preparing for Saturday’s event. Scouts raised the flag and help create the memorial bags for the Luminaria, which they also assisted with lighting.
Survivors are also grateful for the work of volunteers who make Relay For Life possible.
“Relay gives hope for a brighter future for many people,” said Judy Ballance, a 21-year survivor of colon cancer.