Survivors to be honored at Relay For Life

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, April 19, 2014

Caregivers and survivors walk the survivors’ lap at the 2013 Relay For Life at Bennett’s Creek Park. Any survivor can sign up for free to participate in the survivors’ activities at Relay, which include a dinner and free raffle of gift baskets.

Caregivers and survivors walk the survivors’ lap at the 2013 Relay For Life at Bennett’s Creek Park. Any survivor can sign up for free to participate in the survivors’ activities at Relay, which include a dinner and free raffle of gift baskets.

The survivor’s lap kicks off every Relay For Life, and it’s one of the most emotional parts of the evening for many people.

But that’s not the only way of honoring survivors at Relay. Survivors at the Suffolk Relay, set for May 16-17, will be honored before the event with a dinner and gift basket raffle.

Judy Stone, herself a cancer survivor since 2006, is on the committee that puts together the survivor honors.

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“I do it because it’s rewarding,” she said. “It just gives you a good feeling.”

Stone beat ovarian cancer after having been told she had only a year to live. At the time she was teaching in Newport News and took her chemotherapy in Norfolk, where she also met a lot of fellow survivors from Virginia Beach. She later participated in Relays from all three of those cities in addition to Suffolk.

“Since I live in Suffolk, I just said, ‘I’m going to help the survivors here.’”

Since she knows how it feels to be a survivor, Stone said she enjoys talking with survivors and encouraging them to participate in Relay. It can be a healing activity for some, she said.

“I’ve been there,” she said. “You get all down and depressed about it, and then you say, ‘No, I’m going to beat this thing.’ I want to make them feel not depressed and not alone.”

She said some special things are planned for the survivors at this year’s Relay.

“This is something we want to honor them with,” she said. “When you walk the survivor walk, you just feel like you accomplished something.”

About 50 gift baskets are ready for the big day. The free raffle for the survivors features different themed baskets, including some with movie tickets, massage certificates and more.

For more information on Relay For Life or to sign up for the survivor activities, visit www.relayforlife.org/suffolkva.