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Franklin County Relay for Life raises money for Cancer Society

May 20, 2002|BY Staff Writer

laurae@herald-mail.com

Betty Lou Rockwell of Cove Gap, Pa., teared up when she saw the words her 8-year-old great-grandson wrote to his father in purple ink.

"For my Dad, Kirk Smith, Love Hunter, Your son. Love you Dad."

Hunter was only 2 when he lost his father to acute lymphatic leukemia.

"He was just a little boy. He'll never forget his dad. His mother made that promise," Rockwell said.

Hunter's memorial was among hundreds displayed for cancer victims and survivors at the Franklin County Relay for Life on Saturday.

The 24-hour event raised $195,000 for the American Cancer Society, which was a record for the community, said event co-chair Bev Kristine.

Seventy-eight teams, in all more than 1,000 walkers, gathered at Greencastle-Antrim High School's Kaley Field on Friday night, she said.

The idea was to have one person from the team walking laps around the track until 4 p.m. Saturday.

Most of the walkers pitched tents to shield them from the chilly wind and rain that started sometime around midnight. A few of the lucky ones sought shelter in trailers.

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With an inch of rain in the bottom of her tent in the wee hours of the morning, even Kristine had to retreat to her Mont Alto, Pa., home to get a few hours of sleep.

But never at any time during the 24-hour relay was the track empty, she said.

A highlight of the event came after nightfall Friday, when 2,000 luminaires were lit for those who were touched by cancer.

"When you saw the luminaires you realized you weren't alone," said Jean Houck, 66, of Edenville, Pa.

Houck had two pictures on a button she wore.

One picture was of her daughter, Barb Bookwalter, who died of lung cancer eight years ago at age 40.

The other was of her son, Jim Houck, a two-year survivor of a brain tumor.

The money raised in the Relay for Life will be used for research and for services for local cancer patients and their families, Kristine said.

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