Hundreds unite in cancer fight at 14th Relay for Life

May 17, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A flush of excitement filled Susan Goodwin's cheeks Friday night.

Around her, the chilly spring wind carried the cheers of hundreds of people who crowded the red rubber track to support her fight with breast cancer.

Goodwin was one of 178 people to walk the Survivors Lap in the 14th annual Greencastle Relay for Life, but for that moment, she felt like every cheer was only for her.

"With all that clapping, it is so emotional, you feel like the queen for a day," said Goodwin, a Waynesboro, Pa., resident.


More than 700 people from across Franklin County gathered at Greencastle-Antrim High School to pit their spirit and love against cancer's deadly reach.

Some were survivors who had faced the disease and lived, while others had lost fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers to the fight.

Yet all of them came in the wind and rain to spend 24 hours telling cancer it would not win this day.

Hugging his daughter tightly, David Poper fought the anger and tears that come with cancer.

A survivor of skin cancer, Poper has come for many years to support those who still are struggling with chemotherapy treatments, questions and doubt.

"We will find a cure, we have to find a cure," he said. "There are just way too many people affected by cancer."

Event co-chair Shendelle Clapper said everyone has been touched by cancer's deadly wave.

What began in 1994 as a small event has grown to raise more than $1 million for cancer research, Clapper said.

Each year, more people decide that they no longer can sit idly by while the disease spreads, she said.

"People want to make a difference by contributing funds and being part of one voice against cancer," Clapper said.

Even those silenced by the disease were heard Friday when about 900 luminarias blazed to life in honor and memory of those lost.

"It tears you up to see this," Poper said.

"I do this not just for me, but for my sister, who I lost to breast cancer," Goodwin said.

Before the event began, chairwoman Pat Faust-Baker said $145,000 had been raised and volunteers still were adding checks and counting money.

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