Cancer survivors participated in the first walk of the Relay for Life event Friday at Dillon Park.
Teams of walkers participated in Cannon County's Relay For Life on Friday, a symbolic all-night relay that represents the struggle faced by cancer patients.
The mood at Dillon Park wavered from solemn reflection to jovial celebration. One moment CCHS students were playing upbeat rock, and in another a cancer patient spoke of her struggle.
"They gave me six months to live," Melba Chancey explained. "That was back in October and I'm still here... When I was diagnosed I prayed for two things, the wisdom to accept it and then for my fighting spirit to return. Both prayers were answered." Chancey's relay team, Melba's Mavericks, had a Mardi Gras theme and were handing out beads for donations.
American Cancer Society Staff Partner and organizer Harriett Stewart detailed the meaning of the Relay.
"Our motto is 'Cancer never sleeps, and one night a year neither do we.' The relay symbolizes the experience of a cancer patient, beginning at 6 P.M. the teams begin walking... The relay goes on for a full twelve hours. We do one walk by candle light which represents the patient's darkest hour. By early morning the participants are worn and tired and the public has left... The morning light shines over the trees just before 6 A.M. and that symbolizes a clean diagnosis."
The Relay serves a number of functions, it is a fun atmosphere for the public, it is a way for people to deal with the loss of loved ones to the disease, but most importantly it raises a lot of money for cancer research.
No official figures have been released but the Relay is expected to raise over $15,000.See Relay for Life Photo Gallery