See photo page on B1
Six years ago Lois Torres wasn’t sure if she would be able to walk around the track at Clinton High School. Friday night, Torres made a lap around, celebrating the seven years she has been blessed to be cancer free.
Torres, along with hundreds others, gathered Friday night to take part in the annual Relay for Life event. There were more than 150 cancer survivors who either walked or were pushed around the track, followed by the second walk when their families and loved ones joined hand in hand. Everyone was either celebrating survival or remembering a lost loved one.
“Being out here just makes me see who many survivors their are,” Torres said. “It’s important for us to keep doing this for our younger generation. Maybe we can help find a cure that will benefit them.
Seven years ago Torres was diagnosed with lymphoma. One year after her diagnosis and treatments, Torres said she came to her first Relay for Life event, not sure if she would be able to make it around the track.
“Tonight we are here celebrating,” Torres exclaimed.
Despite rain showers and thunderstorms that skirted their way around Sampson County, event organizer Angela Burns said Friday’s Relay stayed dry.
All monies raised from Friday night’s Relay for Life and other fundraising from throughout the year are given to the American Cancer Society to help fund research for a cure for cancer. The Sampson County chapter had a goal of $130,000 this year, and according to Burns, the goal has almost been met with a total of $100,000 raised as of Friday night. Another bank night will be done in a few weeks and money will continued to be raised through Aug. 31.
Following the survivor’s lap and the caregiver’s lap, Burns asked survivors to make their way onto the center of the football field. Carrying a purple balloon, the survivors formed the shape of a ribbon, which is a symbol for Relay.
“The most touching part of the night is when I saw them standing there and they looked like a purple ribbon,” Burns said. “It was very uplifting and inspiring to see that.”
On the count of three, after several tears were shed, the survivors released their balloons into the sky, almost as if they were releasing the demon that had once encompassed their bodies.
“Those survivors were able to release the cancer with the release of the balloon,” Burns said.
In all, there were approximately 16 teams who took part in Friday’s events. Leading the way was the team from Burney’s Sweets and More, there to honor three sisters, Dawn Cannady, Denise Scronce and Cindi Norris. Scronce, who was diagnosed with cancer this year, lead the way, bringing the torch into the stadium.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.