Carter County Relay for Life hosts Survivors Dinner

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Five years, 10 years, 25 years, 40 years and even 52 years.1A-Survivor-CrowdDSC01000-300x225
Those aren’t your typical anniversary dates. The numbers mark the years that cancer patients in Carter County have been cancer survivors.
The Carter County Relay For Life recognized cancer survivors along with their families, friends and caregivers during the annual Survivors Dinner Tuesday night at the Carter County Health Department’s Truman Clark Annex.
Close to 300 people attended the dinner, and many of them were cancer survivors.
During the dinner, publicity chair Kathy Thomason asked all survivors attending to stand. More than three-quarters of those on hand stood. She then asked them to sit by groups based on the time they had been cancer survivors, starting with those who have been cancer-free for five years or less.
The last cancer survivor standing has been cancer-free for 52 years.
“This gives me hope,” said Thomason, who is a 4-year cancer survivor herself. “To see so many survivors here today, it is amazing.”
2014 Chair Genna Price agreed with Thomason that the Survivors Dinner was “amazing.”
“I look around at all the people that are here, and I see a room full of survivors,” she said. “It is a wonderful feeling.”
Price has been involved with the Relay For Life for five years. She initially started with the fundraiser after a coworker at the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency was diagnosed with cancer.
Then, within a five-month period, her son, husband and father were diagnosed with cancer. Her son was diagnosed with melanoma in November 2010. Then her husband was diagnosed in March 2011 and her father in April 2011, both with Stage 3 colon cancer, which she said was identical in every way.
“It happened so fast,” Price said. “It took us by surprise so we didn’t have time to really think about what had happened.”
She said her son, husband and father were now all doing OK. Her son has had surgery for the melanoma and is stable. Her husband has been declared “free of evidence of disease,” and her father is off treatments.
The theme for this year’s Relay For Life is “Decades of Hope.” The Carter County Relay For Life chose survivors born in each decade, starting in the 1920s, to be Honorary Survivors for this year’s Relay event.
Honorary Survivors are Troy Thomason, 1920s; Barbara Campbell, 1930s; Carolyn Hooks, 1940s; Patsy Lewis, 1950s; Karen Fisher, 1960s; Jackie Whitson, 1970s; Ashley Wood, 1980s; Kathryn Hamilton, 1990s and Jason Price, 2000s.
“We tried to recognize survivors for as many decades as we could,” Thomason said.
Survivors were recognized during the dinner and were treated to a meal catered by All About a Party. After the survivor recognition, entertainment was provided by Carson Peters.
This year’s Relay For Life will be held at the Elizabethton High School track on June 20 beginning at 6 p.m. The goal for the 2014 Relay For Life is to raise $125,000 for cancer research.
Volunteers with the Relay were on hand to sell Luminaries for the Relay and to assist with sign-up and registration for the event.

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