05/16/08 — Ready to Relay?

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Ready to Relay?

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 16, 2008 2:54 PM

Amid all the laughing and joviality, you wouldn't know the room was full of cancer survivors.

The 15th annual cancer survivors banquet was held Thursday night at First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Survivors of all ages ate their meal while "Superstition," "Georgia on My Mind" and "Soul Man" played in the background.

Tables were colorfully decorated with purple and white balloons, white tablecloths and purple napkins.

There was an atmosphere of fun as Wayne County people celebrated victory over cancer.

Relay schedule


* 4 p.m. -- Special entertainment by Hailey Best, Miss Eastern Wayne.

* 4:30 p.m. -- Relay Idol contest.

* 6 p.m. -- Opening ceremony with masters of ceremonies Bill Johnston and Carol Lane with Curtis Media Group, a flag presentation by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base honor guard and a prayer by the Rev. Howard E. McNair of New Stoney Hill Holy Church.

Survivor's lap led by Goldsboro High School's drum band and Wayne County Public School's varsity cheerleaders.

National Anthem by Jimmy Martin, Pam Bedford and Dana Sawyer. Welcome by Mayor Al King.

Cancer update by Dr. Jim Atkins. Lighting of the Flame of Hope.

* 6:45 p.m. -- Campsite judging.

* 6:45-7 p.m. -- The Fleming Sisters.

* 7 p.m. -- Auction.

* 7-7:15 p.m. -- Singer Sherry Aycock.

* 7:15-8 p.m. -- Forehand Family Choir.

* 8 p.m. -- Team flag lap.

* 8-8:45 p.m. -- Red Hat Society/wacky hat lap.

* 8:45 p.m. -- Campsite winners announced.

* 9 p.m. -- Luminaria ceremony with Master of Ceremonies Brent Hood and a prayer by Jimmy Bryant of Whitley Church.

Dealing with cancer by Carol Mitchell and LaDelle Smothers.

Poem "Every Candle Has A Name" by Debbie Pennell.

Song "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Renewed Harts.

* 9:30 p.m. -- Fireworks.

* 10 p.m. -- ACC lap.

* 11 p.m.-- Racing for a Cure contest.


* 12 a.m. -- Jack-O-Melon contest judging.

Midnight love lap.

* 1 a.m. -- Pajama lap.

* 2 a.m. -- Simon Says game.

* 3 a.m. -- Flashlight lap.

* 7 a.m. -- Rooster crow and bedhead contests.

* 8 a.m. -- Morning stretch lap.

* 8:45 a.m. -- Kids Walk starts.

* 9 a.m. -- Relay baby contest.

* 9:30 a.m. -- Project Jump demonstration by Kris Parks' jump rope team.

* 10:30 a.m. -- Pack the track lap.

* 10:45 a.m. -- closing ceremony.

Contest winners announced.

Song "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Katie McCloud.

Even emcee Jimmie Ford, a cancer survivor himself, added to the merriment of the occasion as he promised an extra door prize to one lucky person attending. He gave the winning number all the change in his pocket, which the winner promptly gave back.

During the banquet, Dr. Jim Atkins with the Southeastern Medical Oncology Center answered a question that people frequently ask him: "Why do you do what you do for a living?"

He told those in the audience that the answer is simple -- "it's because of you. We (he and other cancer doctors) have learned to appreciate life. We relish the friendships we've developed. We rejoice in victory (over cancer). We cry when therapies fail."

Dr. Atkins said he sees the fight that those with cancer put up. He sees their bravery and courage. He also sees all the support they have from those around them.

"It helps us continue our battle," he said. "We are blessed to have you
in our lives."

A cancer survivor and an honorary chairman of the Relay, LaDelle Smothers, told about her experience with breast cancer.

Two days shy of her 34th birthday last year, she went for a routine physical, which turned out to be anything but routine.

A mammogram and ultrasound turned up something suspicious. Mrs. Smothers received a call telling her she needed to see a surgeon.

"The call turned my world upside down," she said. "The news was not good; it was breast cancer."

Surgery showed that the cancer had also spread to the lymph nodes in her chest, abdomen and groin area. Mrs. Smothers had stage 4 cancer.

She said the worst part was the fear of the unknown. She just took one day at a time.

But something wonderful came out of the ordeal.

"The experience added value to my life," said Mrs. Smothers. "It gave me the opportunity to experience real support, real compassion and real love."

She now considers cancer just one of the bumps on the road of life. "Cancer for me was just another way to become a better person. I have too much going on to let cancer win."

The banquet concluded with Susan Scott singing "One Moment In Time." As she belted out the song, those attending stood and waved their arms high in the air. Some linked arms and swayed back and forth.

When she sang the last line of the song, "I Will Be Free," everyone cheered.

The Relay for Life begins today at 4 p.m. at Wayne Community College and ends Saturday.