Valdosta Daily Times

April 28, 2014

Relay reveals faces of courage

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Many folks spend Friday evenings taking in a movie either at the cinema or with a DVD at home. Some viewers watch cinematic tales of heroism, or perhaps some people seek a little inspiration and rejuvenation after a long week.

If you’re looking for faces of heroic perseverance, forget the Hollywood faces on the big screen for one Friday night.

Instead, visit the track of Valdosta Middle School this Friday evening to see the faces of local heroes at the American Cancer Society Valdosta chapter’s 2014 Relay for Life.

The Relay, which lasts from Friday evening to Saturday morning, traditionally opens with a Survivors Lap of local folks who have faced cancer, battled it, and survived. The Survivors Lap is always an emotional event. It is a celebration of the tenacious spirits who have overcome this deadly disease, which strikes in so many forms and knows no boundaries of race, age, economic background or gender.

There is no taking away from the survivors’ indomitable will in overcoming cancer, but events such as Relay for Life have also helped increase the survivors’ ranks.

Relay for Life raises necessary dollars for cancer research, leading to medical advances which save lives. In attracting volunteers to walk often in shifts from the early evening to the wee early hours of dawn, the event also raises awareness of the needs of cancer patients and the needs for research funding.

Almost every life has been touched by cancer. Either directly in the case of patients, survivors, and the luminary memorial to those who did not survive, or indirectly, as our parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends and neighbors have battled cancer.

If you don’t think you know anyone who has battled cancer, come to the Relay for Life Friday evening and look at the brave and resolute faces of the survivors. You will likely be surprised at how many of those faces you know.