On Thursday evening cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers gathered at the Garden Center to celebrate another year of living. Relay for Life hosts the event annually, and the attendees unanimously find it to be a crucial source of fellowship and support.
“The fellowship is wonderful,” Sarah Porter of Wilson said. Porter has been cancer free for eight years, after having her cancer surgically removed. She has been coming to the Ardmore event for the past two years.
“It’s very important because some of them have really been through a lot, and others, like me, never had to have any of the chemo or radiation,” she continued.
Shirley Brown, 82, was another attendee. She has been a cancer survivor for nine years and has been attending the dinner for the past 12 years.
“Somebody where I worked told me about it, and I started coming then—before I even got cancer,” Brown said. She went on to say that her favorite part of the night was everyone getting together, enjoying one another’s company, and telling their stories.
Mary Robins, who is celebrating five years of being cancer free this month, also stressed the importance of hearing others’ stories.
“Hearing the other survivors talk about what they’ve been through is really inspiring for me,” she said. “The support we get from everybody is amazing.” She finds this support to be especially helpful.
“I got really great support from the cancer center here, but when all of that stops, it feels like you lose touch with people,” Robins continued, referring to the time after her treatment was complete. “But when you have events like this, it brings you back in touch with others. It’s nice. It’s really nice.”
Scott Moore was in attendance for the second time, and he described his perspective as a caregiver. His wife Jennifer had carcinoma, but has now been cancer free for over two years.
“They are the ones that go through it, but you see all the emotions,” Moore said. “You see all of the effects. Trying to be the tough one all the time and trying to be the support system, it’s sometimes emotionally draining itself.” He went on to describe why the event is so important.
“Getting to see how many people have overcome cancer and that there is hope for those out there still dealing with it is a good thing,” he explained. “It gives them encouragement.”
Perhaps Pat Scott, a two time cancer survivor, summed up the event best.
“You get to see the ones that are still surviving, and you get to see the ones that are still fighting,” she said. “It’s a good thing, and you don’t feel so alone. It’s like a big family. Everyone knows what everyone has been through. It’s closeness.”