SIDNEY – The Shelby County Relay For Life started off with sunshine, smiles and over $ 20,000 before the goal of $ 50,000.
“We’re so excited to be allowed to come back here, and we can finally relay again. Even taking off a year was not good. How many cancer survivors haven’t survived because we had to shut down for a year? I don’t ever want to do that again, ”said Rhonda Pence, A Family Affair team leader. “We’re back, and we’re back with a vengeance.”
Pence, who is a breast cancer survivor, has participated in the Shelby County Relay For Life since its inception over 20 years ago. Relay’s first year came after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had only a few months left to live. Pence’s mother is still alive today, 21 years after her initial diagnosis.
“What if it was my dollar – and if it was my walk on the track – that makes the difference for a cure,” Pence said.
Over the years, cancer has affected many of Pence’s friends and family members, including his father, who lost his battle with lung cancer, his younger sister, Alicia, who lost her battle with melanoma. , his mother-in-law, who lost her battle with the lungs. cancer, and many cousins, her stepfather, sister-in-law and friends, all of whom lost their battle with cancer. Pence noticed during the opening ceremony that she didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count all the people she lost to cancer.
“This horrible disease must be stopped. I can’t even mention how many people I hold dear are still fighting, ”Pence said.
Pence’s own diagnosis came in 2016, just a month after that year’s stint. At one point in her treatment, she was so sick that the doctors stopped her treatment and told her husband that there was nothing they could do and that it would take a miracle to help her.
“I believe in miracles, and I have one. I still take a chemotherapy pill every day, just to keep it from coming back, even though they say I’m in remission right now. Cancer has affected so many people I know and love, and it inspired me to stay with the American Cancer Society Relay For Life event, ”said Pence. “I am participating to give hope to those facing the disease and fundraise for the ACS event to save lives from cancer. “
By the time of the opening ceremony, A Family Affair had raised $ 19,535 of a total of $ 70,405.36 – beyond the goal set by the ACS for the Shelby County Relay For Life. Pence herself had raised $ 11,566 at the opening ceremony, ranking as the top performer. Shelby County Relay For Life funding will go towards cancer research and resources for people living with cancer.
“It’s just phenomenal. We are totally shocked that it is right now, ”Pence said. “The community is out and they really know how to support this organization. “
Thirteen teams competed in Friday’s relay and included Ferguson Construction Co., Connection Point Church, Sidney First United Methodist Church, Minster High School Student Council, Feathers of the Phoenix, Wilson Health, Chelsea’s Squad, US Bank, Mutual Federal, Mandalorian Mercs Shelby and Beanz County ELT Costume Club.
“Relay For Life is not only a fundraising event to create a world free from the pain and suffering caused by cancer, but it is also a community that comes together to take action. for a saving change. Why are we relaying in Shelby County? Because we have hope for a future where cancer never steals another life, and we know the potential to make this possible can only happen when we take action, ”Mark Kaufman, Associate Pastor of Connection and missions to Connection Point Church of God and master of ceremonies, says. “In Shelby County, we will not stop until there is a cure. “
Cancer survivors take the first round of the court at the start of the Relay For Life 2021 on Friday August 6
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