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Several hundred walkers participate in Relay for Life night long walk at Washington Co. Ag Center

June 21, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Cancer survivors take the ceremonial "survivors walk" at the Relay for Life of Southern Washington County.
By Ric Dugan / Staff Photographer

Selena Doyle received the worst news of her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer on Sept. 12, 2011.

She said she had to undergo grueling chemotherapy at first because the tumors were too big to be operated on right away. Then there was surgery, followed by radiation treatments.

“I just sat in the recliner and didn’t want to move,” the 46-year-old Boonsboro Middle School teacher said.

But on Friday night, Doyle was one of several hundred walkers who participated in the Relay for Life of Southern Washington County at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center to help raise money to find a cure for cancer.

Doyle, who said she is now cancer-free, was one of the event’s committee members.

She said her husband, Chris, also is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer at the same time she was undergoing treatment.

Selena Doyle said Chris also is cancer-free after undergoing surgery.

“It was pretty devastating,” she said. “But I’m a firm believer if you put your trust in the doctors and God, you’ll pull through it.”

Event Chairwoman Beth Clipp said she was walking for her brother-in-law and uncle, who both lost battles with cancer within the last two years.

“I’m walking to remember my relatives and some friends who have fought the battle with cancer,” she said.

Friday’s event had 10 teams comprising a few hundred walkers. It was a nice jump from the group’s inaugural relay last year, which had seven teams, Clipp said.

“We’ve grown,” she said.

Walkers started taking laps around the agricultural center’s parking lot at about 7:40 p.m. Friday. Participants set up tents to take breaks.

The walk was to last until 7 a.m. Saturday.

Clipp said there was a meaning behind the night-long timeframe.

“The reason we go all night long is because cancer never sleeps,” she said. “We invite everyone and anyone to come join us. A large part of Relay (for Life) is honoring our cancer survivors and the people who have been our caregivers."

Walkers raised money by obtaining donations, Clipp said.

They also held raffles and sold luminarias that were illuminated during the walk.

Fourteen-year-old Emily Hausler said she never met her grandmother, Joyce Burtner, because she died of cancer about 20 years ago.

But Emily and her friends from Boonsboro High School formed a team called Soul Survivors to walk in Burtner's honor.

“We’re walking to raise money for other people who have cancer,” she said. “We’re walking for my grandmother.”

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