With a huge turnout of supporters and more than $73,000 raised, the 2012 Galax/Carroll County Relay for Life was another huge success.
Chairman Sharon McCombs said a total of $73,456 was raised locally this year in the fight against cancer. She expressed gratitude for the large turnout for the yearly event Friday at the Carroll County High School track.
“What a crowd we have here tonight and I can’t say how thankful I am to see you all. We’re all here to obtain the same goal and that is to put an end to cancer,” McCombs said. “Over the next several hours we’ll take a life-affirming journey together that represents the journey of a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis until recovery. The sun is definitely shining upon as we begin tonight’s activities. It will fall and darkness will enter as we symbolize the diagnosis of and fight against cancer, and when we rise in the morning and see the sun shining upon us again it will provide us with hope and a promise of recovery.”
McCombs said the community has exhibited commitment to seeing an end to cancer. Seeing that enthusiasm has made her proud to be chairman the past year.
“Tonight as we come together as a community, we’ll support those facing cancer, we’ll remember loved ones lost to the disease, and we’ll fight back together so that one day, no one in our community will ever hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’” McCombs said.
Shanda Sinnett spoke about her husband, who lost his eight-year battle with cancer last July. She talked about the wonderful programs offered for those facing the fight with cancer and encouraged people to take advantage of them. She also encouraged those in attendance to volunteer in the fight.
After being diagnosed with bladder cancer in January of 2011, Nelda Murphy of Troutdale was excited to tell those gathered Friday that she is now cancer-free. The mother of Krista Neely and grandmother of Maleah and Makena Neely, she said she has received hundreds and hundreds of cards, calls, e-mails, food and gifts from people from all over the world and the U.S. encouraging her in her battle. She said her 12-year-old granddaughter Makena also gave her a beautiful gift showing her how much she was loved, which she called a blessing.
Murphy said her ordeal began in 2010 when she had many problems. She said she was originally misdiagnosed with a urinary tract infection. After more trips to the doctor, a nurse suggested she go see a local urologist, where she was finally diagnosed properly with bladder cancer.
“I told her she saved my life,” Murphy said.
At first she was told she would need a tumor removed from her bladder, but eventually in August of 2011, her bladder was removed at the University of North Carolina.
“Now I am cancer free and ready to get on with my life,” Murphy said.
After Murphy’s speech, a large throng of cancer survivors kicked off the Relay for Life event with a survivor’s lap. They were followed by caregivers, who also took a turn taking a lap before the night’s festivities began.