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Survivors take emotional lap at Relay for Life
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Survivors take emotional lap at Relay for Life

Supporters lined the track at the fairgrounds Friday night, applauding and cheering on heroes clad in purple shirts.

Some cried and others smiled as they made their way around the Survivors Lap at Wilson’s Relay for Life.

Heather Nichols held son John on her hip for the celebratory lap. Nichols is a nine-year survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The young mother had been told she might never have children, but she had three. Nichols said she’s walked at every Relay since her diagnosis.

Sandra Mullins walked with her daughter, Wendy Pone, and sister, Deloras Nichols. Mullins just finished chemotherapy for ovarian cancer and has just received good news about her prognosis.

Mullins and Pone had trouble talking after the lap. It’s just so emotional, Pone said, adding that now the treatment is over she has had more time to think.

"I’m so glad to still have her,” Pone said through tears. "It’s incredible.”

Hundreds of residents flocked to the fairgrounds for the annual event.

Ronald and Cynthia Knoll are no strangers to Relay for Life, the major fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Knoll is a 24-year survivor of kidney cancer; his wife is a 14-year breast cancer survivor.

"We come every year,” Cynthia Knoll said, standing behind her husband’s wheelchair. Although his cancer is behind him, he has other health issues following a stroke.

Around the track, area teams from businesses, churches and families were set up in tents offering food and games and other items to raise funds for the cause.

One team had a needle in a haystack game. Another had bounce houses.

Team Big Daddy was selling hot dogs. They were there to honor the memory of their loved one, the late John "Clee” Lucas, who died of esophageal cancer.

While entertainment took place around a stage, volunteers kept walking and making money for the cause, expecting a full night of fellowship at the fairgrounds.

This year’s Relay for Life continues through noon today. | 265-7810
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