Relay a reminder of fight against cancer

May 15, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- In 15 years, the Greencastle Relay for Life has raised $1.5 million and has helped more than 150 local survivors win their daily battles with cancer.

And as the sun glowed Friday, hundreds of people from across Franklin County, Pa., walked the Greencastle-Antrim High School track hoping to raise about $185,000 more.

Relay for Life has become an event the Greencastle community eagerly awaits each year, chairwoman Pat Faust-Baker said.

For Faust-Baker, the event is personal.

"I have lost so many people I loved to cancer," she said. "My first husband died of lung cancer 15 years ago, the same year my mom died of lung cancer."

The symbol of walking in a circle for 24 hours is powerful, said seven-year breast cancer survivor Kim Muller of Mercersburg, Pa.


Having so many people cheering as the survivors walk their lap is emotional, she said.

"People you don't know are whooping and hollering for you," she said. "You feel alive."

Despite the joy of gathering with others who have faced the same battle or with families who carry on in their loved one's memory, Relay for Life is a reminder that the world is still looking for a cure, said C. Ordean Monn of Waynesboro, Pa.

"We're here because we are working on fighting it (cancer) any way we can," he said.

Monn's brother recently was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Faust-Baker said most of the people involved in Relay for Life have been personally touched by cancer.

For Sandy Beaver of Greencastle, cancer is back for round two on her body. But she said she is still fighting.

"Seeing that so many people have beaten this, I know I can keep a positive outlook," she said.

The most important part of Relay is the encouragement.

"Keep your head up, grin and bear it," said Monn's wife, Marlye.

"That's right," Monn said. "Life's worth it."

As of 10 p.m. Friday, the 2009 Relay for Life had raised $154,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Faust-Baker said they will continue to collect money through 4 p.m. today.

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