Relayers tape ‘Purple Couch’ video

Published 8:38 pm Saturday, April 7, 2012

One by one, the Relay participants sat on the purple couch, looked at the camera set up on a tripod and told the world why they Relay.

Participants talked about their personal fight with cancer or those of close family members or friends. But then, without fail, each participant talked about how they simply want to help find a cure for cancer — not just for themselves, or for their family, but also for the next generation.

Miranda Moore tapes her segment on the “Purple Couch” video about why she Relays. She lost her father and stepfather to cancer and fought cancer herself, all before the age of 33.

Miranda Moore explained how her father and stepfather both died of cancer — first her father about four years ago, then her stepfather only a year ago.

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It was only after she talked about them that she added the fact that she, too, is a cancer survivor at the young age of 33.

Morgan Phelps sat down and talked about her father’s fight with cancer that now has lasted for a year and a half.

“I don’t want to Relay just for myself,” she said. “It’s my job to make sure that everyone lives cancer-free.”

The poignant video will be played at the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life, set for May 18-19 at Bennett’s Creek Park. After Relay, it will be put on YouTube and also could be used at awareness events.

Catherine Williams sat down and talked to the camera about her personal and family fight with cancer. She battled melanoma four times between 1987 and 1998, undergoing interferon treatments three times a week each time. She weighed about 90 pounds at one point during each of her battles.

After the fourth time, she finally underwent surgery to replace part of the skin on her face, where the cancer repeatedly appeared, with muscle tissue.

But the real reason she Relays, she said, is because she teaches high school.

“I want (my students) to understand the importance of finding a cure,” she said.

High-schooler Brooke Wharam told the camera that her mother passed away two weeks ago from colon cancer. Donna Wharam, 45, died March 13 and was the longtime chief administrative manager in the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

“The Purple Couch” will be taped again at the May team captains’ meeting, which will be held May 7 at 7 p.m. at King’s Fork High School. Anyone is welcome to come tell the camera why they Relay.

“I wanted to do it so people know that I do it for them,” Moore said.

For more information on Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life, visit www.suffolkrockinrelay.org.