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Cancer “Survivor Dinner” encouraging to participants

By Lacy Hilliard
Freelance Writer/Photographer

The Relay for Life is serious about beating cancer. The amount of events and programs offered through the Relay for Life/American Cancer Society proves that when it comes to cancer, these organizations will do whatever it takes to end this epidemic. Leading up to the July 13 Johnson County Relay are several fundraising and celebratory events. The annual “Survivor Dinner” and “Relay for Life Pageant” are two of the largest pre-relay events.
The Annual Relay for Life Survivor Dinner is a celebration of survivors past and present. This year’s dinner was held on Thursday, June 21 at the Crewette Building in Mountain City. The reception was decorated in a birthday theme that holds symbolism to the cancer survivors the dinner caters to. The theme is in honor of surviving another year; a sort of cancer survivor ‘rebirth.’ The brightly colored balloons and decorations are most certainly an appropriate backdrop to the attendees. Guests greeted each other with excited and congratulatory tones as they mingled. Upon arrival, they were given the opportunity to pose with loved ones for a picture snapped by Misty from the relay team “Faith Walkers.” The party offered door prizes, raffles, live music and of course, an impressive spread of southern style cooking. The Levi retirees worked tirelessly in the kitchen to provide the delicious meal and in honor of their service, relay volunteer and the main organizer for this event, Lesa Brown awarded them with two-dollar bills. She said that the bill was symbolic of the volunteers themselves; unique and hard to find. Brown is a dedicated volunteer and though she fought her own battle against cervical cancer, she was involved with the Relay even before her personal battle manifested. Noticing the guests of honor, it’s shocking to realize how many people you recognize; proving that no matter whom you are, cancer hits close to home.
The 2012 Relay for Life Pageant took place on Saturday, June 23 at the Johnson County Armory. This event offered all the glitz and glamour of a beauty pageant but also housed local vendors and informational representatives. Relay volunteer, Diane Darocha, could be found representing the American Cancer Society by providing all those interested with information regarding the many programs offered through the organization. “The Hope Lodge” is an ACS program that offers free lodging to patients (and their caregivers) that must travel to undergo cancer related treatments. “The Road to Recovery” is another ACS program that will provide free transportation to patients to and from their medical appointments. “Look Good…Feel Better” is a unique program that offers free makeovers for those that have felt the physical rigors of chemotherapy. These are just a few of the amazing programs that the American Cancer Society offers and many patients would be lost without them.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.