Melton Relays for her mother

Published 9:02 pm Saturday, March 12, 2011

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories leading up to the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life, to be held May 13-14.

For Ginny Lee Melton, the reason for Relay for Life is her mother.

For others, the reasons might be different — children, siblings, other family members or close friends. Whatever they are, the goal is still the same, Melton says.

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“The best part about this are the people who volunteer,” said Melton, who’s in her first year of a two-year commitment to chair the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life. “Everybody who comes out, they’re all there for the right reasons.”

Melton’s mother had her first fight with breast cancer when Melton was just 4. Later in life, she developed lung cancer and passed away.

“For me, chairing this event was a great way to honor my mom,” Melton said. “This is a great event. It’s so much fun, it’s touching, it’s just a wonderful thing to do.”

Melton was asked about chairing the event by Anne Barclay, the Suffolk community manager for the American Cancer Society, the parent organization of the Relay fundraiser.

“I do feel like you have to give back to your community,” Melton said of why she agreed. “You can’t find somebody who cancer doesn’t touch.”

Melton has been involved with Relay for four years as a team captain of her church team. She said she’s learned a lot more about Relay as the chair of the event.

“I have learned how much work it really is,” she said. “I have met a lot of wonderful people.”

The Suffolk Rockin’ Relay will be moving to a new location this year, Bennett’s Creek Park, after outgrowing the space available at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

“NSA was definitely a successful location,” Melton said. “We felt like we needed some more space in order to grow.”

Melton added that chairing the Relay has, indeed, been a good way to honor — and remember — her mom.

“I can’t tell you that I don’t think about her all the time,” Melton said. “Maybe I think about her more. She was the most positive person I’ve ever encountered in my life. You always think about your own story when you hear other people’s stories.”

Melton encouraged anybody who has been thinking about forming a team or joining one to go ahead and do so now.

“We invite everybody to participate,” Melton said.

She also encouraged any and all survivors to join in during the night, especially during the survivors’ reception and survivors’ lap.

“You’re a survivor the minute you are diagnosed,” Melton said. “Anybody who is a survivor, we’d love for them to register and come to that.”

The Relay will be held at Bennett’s Creek Park May 13-14. To register or get more information, visit