Relay lights up night sky

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, May 7, 2015

 Joyce Harris, center, and two other Relay For Life participants release a sky lantern during Thursday’s event at Lions Fair Park.

Joyce Harris, center, and two other Relay For Life participants release a sky lantern during Thursday’s event at Lions Fair Park.

Thursday night saw a wide range of emotions for people who attended Relay For Life at Lions Fair Park. Many laughed and some cried, but they all walked with the same purpose – celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer.

Together, the 30 relay teams managed to raise a total of $92,138 to be used for cancer patients in Dallas County.

Patricia Moten, a Relay participant on the Homestead Hospice team, said the event is important for the community and those that have been affected by cancer.

“I think it takes a village, and Relay for Life is a fundraising event to actually help with funds to help with research and I think it’s important, as [an eight year] survivor myself,” Moten said. “There’s so many people that are uninsured and the American Cancer Society helps with funds to assist with that as well as to fund research, so hopefully in this lifetime, we find a cure for cancer and I think research is headed that way.”

Cancer survivors walk the first lap at Thursday night’s Relay For Life, which raised more than $92,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Cancer survivors walk the first lap at Thursday night’s Relay For Life, which raised more than $92,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Moten said she couldn’t even remember how many years she has participated in relay, just that she enjoys doing it and does it with a purpose.

“[I enjoy] the people, everybody getting together and actually honoring survivors, honoring family members who have lost and actually honor those that didn’t survive this dreaded disease,” Moten said. “[My hope for the future is] that there’s a cure, that cancer is extinct.”

Moten isn’t the only one hoping to see cancer gone forever.

Torrie Bond, a leadership member who helped set up for the event, experiences cancer every day.

“I work for Vaughan [Regional Medical Center] and obviously we see cancer daily, … and most people, including myself, have family members that’s passed from it, so [I’m] just trying to raise money so we can find a cure,” Bond said. “Cancer is everywhere. Cancer can affect everybody, nobody’s immune to cancer.”

The top three teams in each category were awarded for the amount of money they raised. This year, Lighthouse Jewels took first place in only their first year as a relay team.

“It feels great. This was our first time. We came in with a winning attitude and we came out as a winner,” said Armelia Oliver, a team member. “We are very excited. It was exciting because we stayed focused on the cause knowing that in the end, it was going to be so beneficial for so many people.”

Throughout the afternoon and night cancer survivors, their caregivers and those that have passed on all had an opportunity to be recognized. Members from each team walked the track lined with personal luminaries and before it was over, paper lanterns were released in someone’s honor.

“Cancer is awful and it doesn’t know age, it doesn’t know race, it doesn’t know any of that,” said Tina Spidle-Yelverton, relay chairwoman. “We’re just thankful that we can be out here and help and raise the money and we’re real proud to be a part of Leadership.”