Kildare cancer survivors rally the troops for Relay for Life

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Cancer survivors, caregivers and others who just want to help make a difference came out to Ta-Ha-Zouka Park on Friday night to participate in the annual Norfolk Area Relay for Life event.

Such events are the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

A cancer survivor herself, she is now one of the core members of the committee that organises the Kildare Relay for Life every year. "My mom's cousin, Julie Mosier of Kearney, died of cancer just a few days after last year's relay".

Living that optimism is another thread that connects all affected by cancer, according to Relay For Life Volunteer Event Lead Jeff May, who added that the unity of all participants continues to inspire.

"Team IBB actually started me with Relay For Life".

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With the current relay event just finished, Docherty said preparations for next year's Relay for Life are already underway, with a new committee in the making.

While the goal to raise as much money as possible, Russell credited the community for stepping up and assisting with the event.

The "Pirates of the Cure-ibbean" instead spent the day searching for a different kind of buried treasure - donations to fund cancer research so the disease can finally "Walk the Plank". Her sister, Marie, is a 22-year breast cancer survivor, but Barresi's had two sisters pass away, less than two years apart, from lung cancer. In addition to the support of the community, Relay For Life of Riverbend is supported by many local businesses and organizations.

"It can happen to anybody", she said.

"He conquered that, he kicked its but", she said. After being cancer-free since 1991, she was diagnosed with melanoma and required surgery that left her numb on her right side.

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Brownlee helped her Grandma with all aspects of life from maintenance of the house to taking her to Chemotherapy, as she wasn't able to do it on her own.

"I still get chills", she said.

Cancer survivors were celebrated, as they were joined by loved ones while making laps around the track.

Donna Walter will never forget the moment that her doctor told her the diagnosis.

"Family and friends helped me get through it", she said.

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For the relay, each team was given a baton, the idea being that at least one member be walking on the track at any given time, the symbolism being that no one is facing cancer alone.