Relay raises $70,000 for research
Published 10:02 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016
A crowd of cancer survivors and their caregivers gathered at Armory Field in Franklin to celebrate the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life on Saturday. This year’s Franklin-Southampton Relay raised nearly $70,000 in donations for cancer research according to event committee leader Cindy Cotton.
Having been involved in Relay For Life for approximately 10 years, Cotton said her favorite part of Relay is meeting the survivors.
In fact, there were some who traveled from as far as Manning, South Carolina to partake in the events.
After defeating two cancer diagnoses, one in 1997 and another in 2014, Pat Fenters attended both her hometown Relay in South Carolina and traveled to Franklin’s Relay because her son lives in the area.
“Relay is my way of fighting back,” Fenters said. “When you hear the diagnosis, you feel like such a victim. You have so many choices taken away from you. Doing this makes me feel like a victor.”
Audrey Padgett, a fellow survivor, diagnosed in 1994, echoed Fenters’ statements, and added that Relay serves as a celebratory place to meet with other survivors.
“It’s a time to encourage one another,” said Padgett, “and to reflect on things we’ve been through and to thank the Lord for seeing us through it. We are encouraged that one day we will see cancer defeated. So we don’t give up.”
The fighting spirit is an especially important aspect of Relay, according to Fenters. “It makes me mad that we have our young people taken away from us,” Fenters said. “People lose their children and their spouses. I take that anger and I turn it into fight.”
In addition to channeling the fight into Relay efforts, survivors have banded together to find other ways to support one another through their battles with cancer.
Survivor Audrey Lee, diagnosed in 2012, leads one such effort.
“Relay is an excellent opportunity to raise needed funds for a cure for cancer,” said Lee, “but we wanted to offer support for survivors year round.”
Lee founded the Pink is Powerful Breast Cancer Support Group, which provides a space for breast cancer survivors to meet once a month to share concerns, fears, joys and successes with one another in an effort to provide emotional support throughout the harrowing ordeal of a cancer diagnosis.
The group meets the fourth Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Regional Workforce Center in Franklin.
“Relay was a success this year. We had a very diverse group of teams this year and we were very excited about that,” Cotton said.
The fundraising goal for Relay this year was $75,000 dollars. Event organizers are very close to reaching this goal. Donations can be made until Wednesday, Aug. 31.