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Johnson County Relay for Life is a “model program” says American Cancer Society

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

The Johnson County American Cancer Society Relay for Life was held on Friday, May 17 on Main Street in Mountain City. Cancer survivors, friends, and family members gathered together on a festive Main Street in Mountain City in order to honor all those that have battled cancer.

The celebrations began with the traditional Survivor Dinner in which cancer survivors past and present gather together for the celebratory ‘birthday dinner.’ The idea is that each year a survivor takes part in the Survivor Dinner, it’s seen as another birthday; a celebration of a battle fought and the hope for a cancer-free tomorrow. The Levi Retirees graciously provided the meal for the Survivor Dinner, volunteering their time and funds to help honor local cancer survivors.

Following the Survivor Dinner was the annual Celebration of Hope. A ‘luminaria’ lined Main Street hosted several Relay events all with the guests of honor in mind –cancer survivors and their families.

The Relay for Life is more than celebration however; it’s also an American Cancer Society fundraiser with just one goal in mind, the complete eradication of cancer and the hope that one day, the deadly disease will be present only in history books. The sale of luminary bags goes to support cancer research funded by the American Cancer Society as well as programs that work to support those battling cancer. This year, Johnson County Relay organizers set an extremely ambitious sales goal of 2013 luminary bags. Amazingly, the Relay teams far surpassed this goal for a total of 2,392 luminary bags sold which translates to a total of 15,864 dollars raised in support of cancer research.

Relay for Life programs are present throughout the United States and in 19 other countries across the globe. Miraculously, the 12 teams and well over one hundred participants of the Johnson County Relay for Life is the top earner so far for the 2013 season.

The 2013 Relay for Life teams include; Beta Theta, Dixie’s Darlings, Farmers State Bank, Food Country, Johnson County Bank’s Myrtle Brookshire Team, Levi Retirees, Little Doe Baptist Church, Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation Center, Positive Thinkers, Redtail Mountain Golf Course, Shady Valley, and Teammates Pizza.

Several programs supported by the Johnson County Relay for Life work to support local cancer patients. One of these programs is the Road to Recovery. Local cancer survivor and activist Sarah Campbell is the project coordinator for The Road to Recovery and she’s passionate and hopeful about the future of the program in Johnson County. One of the most challenging aspects of cancer is logistical coordination of transportation and scheduling for the countless appointments associated with treatments. Between chemotherapy, radiation, and checkups, cancer patients spend countless hours traveling to and from appointments. For those without proper support, the difference between making it to all scheduled appointments and missing them is a matter of life and death. Road to Recovery volunteers provide aid to those that are fighting cancer by providing them with transportation, free of charge, to and from appointments. For more information about The Road to Recovery, contact the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or visit their website at www.cancer.org.

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