Relay celebrates fight against cancer

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By Sharon Warner

"I can't believe I have my sunglasses on," said Susan Travis, as she opened the ceremony Friday night for the Relay for Life event held at Shelby County High School.

The rain, that had fallen earlier that day, made the field too wet and campsites were moved to the SCHS back parking lot.

"We've really been blessed," continued the chair of the Relay for Life committee in Shelby County, as she spoke of the 'can do, won't take no' attitude. "We have to celebrate, remember and fight back," she said about the cancer that people that night were fighting to find a cure.

The Relay began with the opening speech by cancer survivor Marcy Lowe, who spoke about her fight against the disease. She spoke of her lucky #13 because that was how many years since she had first found out she had cancer. This event gives her hope.

"Without hope it's a long and rough road," she said. "I was given three to five years to live and 13 years later... I like the math."

She said the most important thing people have to remember is to fight back. "Cancer can not take your hope."

As the lights dimmed before the luminaria ceremony, the candles that formed the words Cure and Hope on each side of the football field could be seen. And each luminaria light represented a survivor who has won the battle against cancer or for the memory of someone who lost the fight. Each name was read during the ceremony by Patti Griffin and Rory Cunningham.

The Shelby County motorcycle or car driving tour of Shelby County brought a total of $1,377, with more than $600 for the tour the night of the Relay.

The local event that night and into Saturday morning, brought in more than $100,000 with more coming in. Anyone can still donate through August for the local event. The amount raised in 2007 was $121,000+ and in 2006, $102,000.

Sponsors for the event were: Norton HealthCare, Citizen's Union Bank, American Founder Bank and The Sentinel-News. Survivor sponsor was James Hite Hays. In-Kind sponsors were: Shelby County High School, Puttin on the Hitz, Bridwell Terhune, Allied Waste, Jewish Hospital, Kentucky Concrete, Courtney Roberts and Flowers By Sharon.

The Relay Committee thanked team captains.

"We learned that if we ever have to do this again, we will do a better job of making sure that those of you in the parking lot can hear when each event starts, said Laura Talbott, team development chair. "Thanks for braving the cold, and thanks to those who stayed all night... You guys are the best."

Photos of all the survivors were taken prior to the survivor walk, and they should be available during a party in June planned for all the survivors.

For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345.

Team awards

Banking For A Cure: Top Bank Team - CUB

Praying For A Cure: Top Church Team -- Church of Annunciation, Honorable Mention to Shelby Christian

Top Healthcare Team - Multi-team level - Jewish; Single team level -- Family Physicians