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Survivor Dinner all about hope

Article Published: Jun. 10, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Survivor Dinner all about hope

Thanks to community efforts, last year's Watauga County Relay For Life raised $260,739.39. The 2010 Relay steps off Friday, June 18.

Photo by Mark Mitchell

To Kathy Moorman, Tuesday's Relay For Life Survivor Dinner wasn't about the food; it was about hope.

After all, while Moorman has been breast cancer-free for six years, the disease is never far from her mind.

"Once you have it, you know there's always the chance it will come back in one form or another," she said.

Meeting survivors, some of whom have been cancer free for decades, is encouraging to say the least.

"You meet people from all different professions and home makers and all kinds of people that have gone through the same kinds of things that you have," Moorman said. "It's encouraging to see that, and ... it's also nice to have the support and to be able to give the support when people have family members that have cancer that is not treatable ... to know there are all these people who do understand and know what you're going through."

And it's a large support system. Most of the 412 place settings were occupied, putting estimated survivor participation at 400. Even non-cancer survivors like Dot Barker can't help but pause at the survivor luminary ceremony.

"It's absolutely overwhelming to see how many there really are," she said of survivors.

Barker, who got involved when her daughter's father-in-law succumbed to cancer, couldn't hide her amazement at the final event of the evening: When survivors light candles, creating a glow that fills the room.

"It just makes you feel really good," she said.

The annual Relay For Life event aims to celebrate Relay efforts and showcase a support system that has been rewarded numerous times by national Relay for its participation.

Last year's Relay yielded $260,739.39 and a second place ranking for money raised in its population group, and this year promises more of the same.

For the fifth year in a row, Watauga County received the Power of Hope Award for most survivor participation in the country. Watauga also received a 100 percent school participation award.

The 2010 Relay For Life happens June 18 at Watauga High School, and survivors and supporters alike are readying their walking shoes. The opening ceremony begins at 7 p.m., and WBTV anchor John Carter will be the featured speaker.

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