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Cancer survivors unite at annual luncheon

Dozens of cancer survivors and their caregivers from across

Butler County came together at Walnut Street Church of Christ’s fellowship hall Friday morning to celebrate another day of living cancer-free.  The Butler County Relay For Life’s annual Cancer Survivors Luncheon, sponsored by Priester’s Pecans and the L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital’s Our Healthy Circle, gives VIP status to all those who have fought the good fight.

As David Norrell shared in song words of faith and inspiration, the attendees enjoyed a light spring lunch catered by Priester’s and served by ACS volunteers and Relay For Life committee members.

As always, survivors were given the chance to win door prizes and to pick up their special priority parking passes for next Friday’s Relay For Life event. 

A twist this year saw each survivor introduce him or herself, share how long each had been a survivor and be presented with a special “I Am Courage” medallion on a purple ribbon, the signature color of cancer awareness.

Some were cancer survivors of three or four months; others, of several years and in one case, more than four decades.  Some survivors had battled two, three, even four different cancers in their lives and survived them all—portraits in courage of all ages and walks of life.

ACS representative Felicia Tyus, a survivor of Stage 3 breast cancer, said she is certain that she would not be here today without the research paid for through ACS funds. “My daughter got the HPV vaccine recently which we believe will great lessen her chance of developing cervical cancer . . . that vaccine is a direct result of ACS-funded research,” Tyus said.

“So when someone asks just what does the American Cancer Society do with the dollars it raises—it saves lives, it gives cancer patients a better quality of life. I truly hope that one day there will no longer be a need for luncheons like this, that cancer will no longer be a threat. Until then, we are going to keep on fighting.”

Butler County RFL chair Gerri McGinnis extended an invitation for all those present to attend the county’s May 12 Relay event.

“We hope all of you who can will join us next Friday night at the fairgrounds,” said McGinnis.

“We want to get started promptly at 6 p.m., so come a little early. We will have handicapped accessible bathrooms available if you need them and we will have your survivor t-shirts for you, too, that night. There are lots of fun activities planned for all ages, so join us if you can.”

Relay For Life in Butler County is slated from 6 p.m. to midnight next Friday, May 12 at the Butler County Fairgrounds. Approximately 20 teams from schools, churches, offices and businesses across the country have been raising funds for the ACS’s signature fundraiser each spring, culminating in a night to celebrate, remember and fight back.