At Bennett’s Creek Park Friday, cancer survivors set out on the first lap of the 2013 Relay For Life. The event raised money for the fight against cancer.
At Bennett’s Creek Park Friday, cancer survivors set out on the first lap of the 2013 Relay For Life. The event raised money for the fight against cancer.

Archived Story

‘Cancer touches everybody’

Published 10:58pm Friday, May 17, 2013

Hundreds of citizens turned out at Bennett’s Creek Park Friday for the 2013 Relay For Life, raising money for the fight against cancer.

More than 900 had pre-registered for the event and many more signed up on the spot, said Ginny Lee Melton, its co-chairman.

“The turnout is excellent,” she said. “It’s a beautiful day, and it’s a beautiful day to relay.”

More than 150 cancer survivors participated. They were honored by taking the first relay lap, with caregivers joining for the second lap.

One survivor taking part was Cindy Ferguson, wife of Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson.

Heather and Willie Dunlow, with 3-year-olds Brennan and Hayden Dunlow, who are cousins, support the fight against cancer at Friday's Relay For Life.
Heather and Willie Dunlow, with 3-year-olds Brennan and Hayden Dunlow, who are cousins, support the fight against cancer at Friday’s Relay For Life.

She had a malignant tumor removed from her face this year. “I have a few more surgeries, but I’m doing well,” she said.

Melton said the purpose of the annual event is threefold: “Celebrate survivors, remember those who have lost, and fight back.”

The fundraising goal was $240,000, and $170,000 had been reached Friday.

“We haven’t met our goal until there is a cure for everybody,” said Melton, whose mother died of cancer 15 years ago.

“The truth is, cancer touches everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you go, no one you will meet, just about, will not know someone who has been affected by cancer.”

Every team at the event had an emotional story to tell. For example, members of Sandy’s Survivors were participating in memory of Sandy Holcomb, who on Dec. 13 lost her battle with breast, then ovarian, cancer at 61.

“She was feisty right up to the end,” said Kelly Holcomb, her daughter. “It’s important to find a cure.”

Heather Howell, who chairs the event alongside Melton, also spoke about how cancer touches everyone in some way.

“Each and every one of us has been touched by cancer in some way and wants to do something about it,” she told the Bennett’s Creek Park gathering, minutes before the survivors set out on the relay’s first lap.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said the event has continued to grow, year after year.

“I look around and see wonderful friends who are going to walk as survivors,” the mayor said. “I think of friends I have lost. I think of family members who are struggling, among all of our families.

“What gives me great joy, I see a lot of the survivors coming back, year after year after year.”

“We are making progress.”

More photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page.

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