Relay For Life Supports Cancer Research

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) - The statistics are overwhelming: One in two men and one in three women will get battle cancer at some point in their life.
However, events like Relay For Life are helping boost survivor rates because the money raised goes to fund cancer research.

Whitney Daniel show us how folks are fighting cancer one step at a time.

They've been walking since seven o'clock, and they won't stop until seven in the morning. Relay For Life began 22 years ago when one man, a doctor in Tacoma, Washington, decided he wanted to do something. He raised money to walk 24-hours without stopping.

The idea spread and now takes place in almost every community throughout the country.

There is no finish line.

"I'm just thankful to be here. It could have been the other way around," breast cancer survivor Pauline Walker said.

But cancer survivors and hundreds of supporters cling to hope...

"I'll just keep doing this until we've got a cure or I'm physically no longer able to," said Patricia Lee from the team TN Purple People Cancer Eaters.

The walk -- heads held high, each step a step closer to a cure.

"One person from each team will be on the track all night because cancer doesn't sleep, and we're not going to tonight," event chair Angela Browning said.

The goal is $99,000 dollars.

"We want no one else to suffer from this disease. We want to help those who are suffering right now," Amy Fields from the American Cancer Society said.

All the money supports cancer research and community out-reach programs.

"I've been able to visit lots of breast cancer patients over the years and give them encouragement and emotional support that comes from someone who's still here and still living a normal life," Walker said.

Survivors took a victory lap to kick-off the event, followed by relayers rallying in support of their own survivors.

"I really want to honor her because she's put up such a brave fight. She's a 5 1/2 year survivor now," Lee said.

And whether cancer is a new concept or something someone's been living with for years, it's a fight worth fighting.

"Relayers are the best people in the world, we say, because they truly are dedicated to the fight against cancer," Fields said.

These folks are truly dedicated to the cause. The big event Friday night, though happened later.

Cancer survivors helped spread the light of hope during the traditional luminary ceremony. Many people participating say this is their favorite part of the relay because it lets you step back and take a moment to reflect on what this event is really about.

Folks lit candles in memory of family members who lost the fight to cancer and in honor of those who are still fighting. The crowd also gave special recognition to those who've beat the disease.


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