By Marlana Ward
Threatening skies could not put a damper on the fighting spirit of all those who turned out for the annual Relay for Life event at Ralph Stout Park Saturday, July 12, 2014. Fourteen teams representing businesses, churches, and civic organizations came together to share strength and support for all those fighting cancer, those that have survived cancer, those serving as caregivers to cancer patients, and those whose lives were touched by the loss of a loved one with cancer.
Johnson County began participating in the Relay for Life events in 1997. The first year, the focus was only on luminaries as the major event. In addition to luminaries, this years event featured survivor and caregiver laps around the track, local musicians performing, a neon race, local artists and craftsmen selling wares, concessions, and informational booths hosted by local businesses.
The theme for 2014 was Finish the Fight. Booths throughout the park were decorated in the colors and spirit of different super heroes with each one focusing on a particular type of cancer. This years chair for the relay was Megan McEwen. She is one of many Johnson County residents who have lost loved ones to cancer. I have been participating in the relay for eight years, McEwen shared. Ive lost a grandmother and grandfather to cancer so I have been personally touched by it.
Attendees of the relay were there for a variety of reasons. Cindy Bass, whose story was featured at the booth hosted by the Positive Thinkers, is currently battling cancer and came out not only because of her own battle but in support of all who are facing cancer. It is a fight against cancer and its everybodys fight, she said. No matter who you are, you can be hit with cancer at any given time. Local radio personality Billy Gambill shared his reason for participating in the relay. Cancer is a disease we need to get rid of and thats why we are here, he said. We are not finished fighting yet. The battle is not over.
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By Marlana Ward