Cancer survivors relay support to one another

For six hours on Friday night, people of all ages walked around McLeod Athletic Park, or, on the artifical turf, they danced, or kicked soccer balls, or stood in groups and mingled, during the Langley Relay For Life, to raise funds and awareness in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. The event began at 11 a.m. with a kick-off ceremony and lighting of the torch.

After some speakers said a few words, cancer survivors were invited to make a first lap around the track.

McKnight, who has participated in the Relay for 10 years, was diagnosed with neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer in 2011.

"I started doing this 20 years ago when my mom had gone through her second round of cancer".

Watching survivors mingle is a sight Mandi Reed appreciates every year. "I'm just so happy to see everyone here having a good time and chilling with their families".

"This is what I do", Turner said.

This year's event will be an overnight gathering to celebrate, and honor those who have faced cancer while fundraising for the American Cancer Society's mission.

"When he was born, we found out he had cancer in the kidneys", Deanna Childers, mother, said.

"It's a celebration - we love it".

"My son was my hero", she said.

The Colegroves have their own team in the Relay, the Hope Brigade, comprised of about 60 people. The money raised supports groundbreaking cancer research, education and prevention programs, and critical services for people facing cancer.

"(The cancer community) is supportive", said Born, who has been cancer-free for 23 years.

"It's supposed to be such a handsome weekend, we hope we'll have a good turnout", said Vanessa Halle, co-director of Randolph County Relay For Life and a member of the Advanced Hearing team.

Community support and the celebration of life is another reason to stop by the Relay, said Emily Burkhard of Duncansville, who survived colon cancer and is now fighting a tumor in her abdomen. "He did not have to have any treatment other than surgery", Childers said.

  • Joanne Flowers