Relay draws power in numbers

May. 16, 2014 @ 09:29 PM

OXFORD — A sea of purple and white surrounded survivors who walked the track Friday night.

Purple solo cups were pushed through the chain-link fence around J.F. Webb's football field to create the words Relay for Life in all capital letters.

Families and friends, clutching balloons, celebrated another year of life.

Frances Garrett, who participated in Granville County's first Relay in 1994, is a three-time cancer survivor.

Her first cancer diagnosis was in 1978.

Two decades later in 1998, Garrett was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent mastectomy surgery.

In 2008, it was thyroid cancer.

Still, Garrett said she is blessed for her health.

"I think it's so great the community has come to gather to fight this thing,” she said. “There is power in numbers. For everyone to be here for one another, I think that is about the most wonderful thing that there is."

With 48 teams and more than 500 participants, Granville County has raised about $79,200 thus far — which is $20,000 more than last year’s goal.

Brittany Moore, a member of Relay's entertainment committee, lost her grandmother and aunt to cancer.

"You never know," she said. "You could be the one who actually needs these resources. You can't say, 'It will never hit me.' "

Brett Reif has helped Hawley Middle School raise more than $3,000 for the fifth year.

His uncle died of cancer at age 30 and his mother has fought three battles with breast cancer. He recently lost his mother-in-law to the disease.

"It hits homes with a lot of us, especially with me, especially with moms," he said. "I'm out here and push hard for this for my mom and my wife's mom. We are very close. Even though the amount of money we raised may seem like a drop in the bucket, it's more about bringing the awareness to everybody."

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