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Combatants against cancer unite

Survivors, caregivers and empathizers congregated Friday at Ohio Hi-Career Center for a common goal: To find a cure for cancer.


ABOVE: Co-chairs Deb Moon-Whitsett, left, and Denver Dixon carry the banner during the survivor lap Friday to kick off the 2013 Logan County Relay for Life at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Sinblings Lorna Brunson, left, of Lewistown, and Mike Best of Bellefontaine walk Friday in the survivor lap at the Logan County Relay for Life event. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | NATE SMITH)

Each member of the large crowd had his or her own specific reasons for attending the 15th local relay for life, but finding a cure for cancer was a shared purpose, said Amy Brown, relay organizer.

“This is Logan County at its finest,” she said of the crowd of friends and family members who came out to support loved ones afflicted with the disease.

The event got underway with the annual survival lap, and a lap by each team. Walkers spend about 18 hours on the track overnight walking for a cure, said Washington Township Police Chief Rick Core, who emceed the event.

Chairpersons Deb Moon-Whitsett and Denver Dixon shared their stories, which were featured in Wednesday’s Examiner. Click here to read their stories.

Mrs. Moon-Whitsett is a breast cancer survivor, who underwent two lumpectomies with radiation and drug therapy. Mr. Dixon overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma eight times.

Watch video of Mr. Dixon speaking at the event below

Tara Wagner, honorary caregiver, shared her first-hand experiences caring for loved ones with cancer.

Mrs. Wagner’s husband, grandmother, mother and mother- and father-in-law were each diagnosed with cancer. She talked about how the disease invades not just the person physically afflicted, but also that person’s loved ones.

Mrs. Wagner encouraged those caring for a cancer patient to never give up, and do the best they can to stay positive. She discussed the need to be realistic about the circumstances and understand that there will be bumps in the road. Caregivers need to let themselves feel their emotions, she said, “whether that’s crying or getting angry.”

The crowd also appealed to a higher power for help fighting cancer.

“We hope and pray cancer will be gone from our lives,” prayed Karen Blackburn, pastor of Indian Lake Community Church. “We celebrate the survivors and pray for peace for those who have lost their battle.”

The pastor gave thanks that cancer patients who passed away from their disease no longer have to suffer. She reminded the crowd they have new bodies in Heaven.

Ms. Brown thanked local schools for hosting mini Relay for Life events at their respective schools, efforts that have combined to raise over $60,000. Since the first local relay for life 1998, the event has combined to raise over $2 million locally, Ms. Brown said.

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