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Relay celebrates ‘Decades of Hope’

Cancer survivor Karen Fisher gets an assist around the Elizabethton high School track from friend and garegiver Dawnella Campbell Friday evening as the 2014 Carter County Relay For Life got under way.

Cancer survivor Karen Fisher gets an assist around the Elizabethton high School track from friend and garegiver Dawnella Campbell Friday evening as the 2014 Carter County Relay For Life got under way.

Rain? No problem.
A rainy start didn’t dampen spirits at the annual Carter County Relay For Life, which began Friday evening and strolled into Saturday morning.
Relayers took to the track to honor those currently battling the disease, to remember those who have died and to celebrate with the individuals who can now call themselves cancer survivors.
“This is it,” said 2014 Relay Chair Genna Price. “This is what we have been working so hard for all year long. It is kind of bittersweet to see it here. We are excited to honor the survivors who have battled this disease and honor the memory of those that lost their fight with cancer.”
Price shared the story of why she Relays.
She 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 five months of each other, 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.”
After the multiple diagnoses, Price said Relay For Life provided support for her family and “adopted” them for the holiday season.
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.
“This is why we Relay,” she said. “It’s not about tents and hotdogs, decorations and games. Tonight, we don’t even care how much money we raise. Tonight, we honor all who have battled, those who have lost their battle and those who have won. Tonight the survivors will give others hope. Tonight, we will see the ‘big C’ in a different way.”
The Relay opened with the Survivors Lap at 7 p.m., followed by a Caregiver Lap and a Team Lap. The Relay continued until 7 a.m. Saturday with entertainment and events throughout the night to entertain the Relay participants.
Relay teams have been working since the beginning of the year to raise money for cancer research. The goal for the 2014 Relay was $125,000. Early Friday night at least $43,000 had been collected toward the goal.
Thirty-seven teams registered for the Relay for Life. Individuals walked laps at the Elizabethton High School track throughout the night as a way to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer and to celebrate those that are survivors. The theme for night was “Decades of Hope,” and each team decorated its area along the track with decades-based themes.
While the Relay is the main fundraising event for the year, the 2014 campaign does not close until August. More Carter County Relay For Life events are planned in the coming months and donations will still be accepted.