Walking toward a cancer cure

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hundreds of people from across Dallas County came to the Old National Guard Armory on Saturday night to join in a celebration of triumph.

They gathered in the field behind the Armory to walk around a chalk-drawn track, mingle with friends and sample a wide variety of foods at the American Cancer Society-sponsored Relay for Life.

The annual event began at dusk with a Survivor’s Walk around the track. Several cancer survivors, wearing purple medals and shirts declaring “I’m a survivor,” walked the track to the cheers of everyone.

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After a few laps they were joined by members of the 40 Relay for Life teams that had set up campsites around the track.

“It feels great to be alive,” said Kay Little, a breast cancer survivor for 14 years. “At the Relay, I get to know a lot of people who have been through what I’ve been through.”

At the Relay last year, Little said, she met and became friends with Betty Hooker, a two-year breast cancer survivor.

“When you hear the other survivors say how long they’ve been cancer-free, it gives me a lot of hope,” Hooker said.

The two cancer survivors say they encourage other women to get a mammogram and see their doctors at the first sign that something might be wrong.

“Early detection is key,” Little said.

Karl Jones, Relay for Life committee member, said the event this year drew the largest number of sponsors.

“It gets better every year,” he said. “It’s a good family event and everyone is having a ball.”

Each team campsite at the Rely was like it’s own mini-party, with lots of food, fun decorations and plenty of laugher.

Prizes were given to campsites that had the best decorations and food.

There were also games and an inflatable

moonwalk for the kids.

“Tonight is a celebration of life,” Jones said.

The goal for the Relay this year was to raise $75,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Members of each team were asked raise at least $100, and people could also purchase candles for the luminary walk in honor or memory of someone.

“We won’t know if we made our goal for several weeks, but I know we are close to it,” Jones said.

Jones said the Relay was an overall success, with the partying finally coming to end late in the evening.