CHERAW - It was another exciting, very emotional time for many cancer survivors and caregivers as around 150 attended the 2008 Relay for Life Survivor's Dinner on Apr. 5 at Cheraw First Baptist Church.
The event served as a kick off this year's Relay for Life.
The Cheraw Rotary Club provided the food. Special music was performed by Hannah Thomas of Cheraw.
Not only were survivors recognized at the banquet, but the caregivers of those survivors were also recognized. When asked who has been a survivor the longest, a few hands rose high. One survivor said she had been cancer-free for 30 years. Others followed, stating 25, 21 and 10 years.
Relay for Life pins were given to caregivers. Many door prizes were also given away. Survivors were able to receive a Relay for Life T-Shirt as well.
Several survivors had a chance tell their own story of surviving cancer and the fear and turmoil they had to come to terms with. Some recalled family and friends who lost their lives to cancer.
"We want to recognize the caregivers too because they are just as important and deserve to be celebrated," said Relay for Life Chairperson Kathy Treadaway, John Treadaway, Kathy's husband and co-chair, stated that close to $100,000 has been raised so far towards this year's goal.
Candles were lit at every table and the eyes of many filled with tears as they recalled their battle. Cancer survivors stood with heads held high during a survivor recognition ceremony that concluded the event.
"Remember, Celebrate, Fight Back!" is this year's theme.
"This is what we want to do," said Kimberly Gulledge, Community Field Manager for the American Cancer Society. "We need to fight back and defeat cancer. My mom had cancer and that is why I do this,"
This year's Relay For Life will be held at Chesterfield High School on Apr. 18-19. Thousands of cancer survivors, caregivers, families and friends from all walks of life will hit the football field and take that "survivor walk" once more to remind them that each one is truly a survivor.