By Wendy Holdren
Come hail or high water, you can count on friends, family and cancer survivors to gear up with ponchos and umbrellas in support of the annual Relay for Life event.
Despite the gloomy weather, spirits were up at the Crossroads Mall parking lot, where hundreds gathered to help raise money for the American Cancer Society, raise awareness and support those affected by cancer.
The smells of summertime floated through the air — Relay for Life teams were selling root beer floats, pink lemonade, popcorn and barbecue sandwiches.
Teams were also hosting games for all ages, including putt-putt golf, ring toss, fishing games and even a fortune teller named Madame Hope.
“We are here today with hope for a cure,” one of the Relay leaders said to the crowd.
Hope can certainly help, along with support from family and friends, according to many cancer survivors at the event.
“This is my first time at Relay,” Judy Rothemberger said.
She was there along with several other cancer survivors who are members of the Mount Hope Lion’s Club.
She said many people associate the Lion’s Club with vision, but they
support all types of organizations, including the American Cancer Society.
“The members have been 1,000 percent supportive. They have driven us to appointments, and they’ve been there for us emotionally and financially as well.”
Rothemberger said she had a type of blood cancer that required her to get a stem cell transplant.
“I got the ultimate makeover — I have stem cells from a 20-year-old male,” she said, laughing.
While she continues regular check-ups, she has been cancer-free for one year.
Raleigh General Hospital CEO and President David Darden was also on site at the event.
Raleigh General was this year’s largest sponsor of the event and they provided dinner for the survivors’ dinner.
“We’ve been a supporter for a number of years,” Darden said.
He said they have teams that walk throughout the event and the employees are very passionate about Relay for Life.
“It certainly validates the caring of our employees. ‘To Touch Lives’ is what Raleigh General Hospital is all about.”
For more information about Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org.
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