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Street Talk

Relay Event Reveals Cancer Touches Everyone

By Jessie Gurner

Cancer may be the most frightening word in the English language, but there is a word that is even more powerful. Survivor.

Last Friday night, during the Relay For Life there was an amazing moment as cancer survivors took the first lap around the track at the Crawford Sports Complex.  As the names and dates were read, it was hammered home just how many local families have been affected.

As each survivor took their place on the track, it also became clear that this disease doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about gender, financial status, skin color or age. I doubt that there is a single family in Yalobusha County that hasn’t somehow been touched by this disease.

Jonnie Mayo, the chairperson, the other volunteers, and all the Relay For Life Teams did an amazing job.  The sponsors and all the other donors were incredibly generous.

When I was a child, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. This was a time when the word was whispered in hushed and frightened tones.  It was also a word that made my grandmother cry. Something I had never seen before.

During the Relay For Life as I looked at the luminarias, I was reminded that each flame symbolizes a life. Some of those represented were stolen from their families and friends by this terrible disease. Others represented those who fought and won. Many were for those who are still fighting.  

Before the lighting ceremony, some of the candles and luminarias were stolen. There are some questions I’d like to ask the people who were involved.

Did you know, or care, that each luminaria was in memory of or to honor someone who has faced this awful disease. Did you know that they are purchased by family and friends who have worried and prayed and, like my grandmother, shed tears?

You stole much more than candles and paper bags.

Shame on you.

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