Survivors, caregivers honored

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The Adams Center Ballroom was filled Tuesday night with people who came to celebrate. - the cancer survivors and their caregivers.

The annual Survivor Celebration dinner honored those who have claimed victory over cancer and those who have loved them, cared for them and supported them during their hard-fought battles.

Barbara Synco, president, Pike County Unit of the American Cancer Society, said there are many other "caregivers" who were not in the room Tuesday night. They are the ones who give their time and money so that each year the Pike County Relay is again a success and so that one day cancer will be a thing of the past.

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Larry Hicks, the honorary chair of the 2003 Relay for Life campaign, was the guest speaker.

Hicks said that a person has to have the right things in life to survive cancer.

Through research, education, advocacy and service, the American Cancer Society is helping to put those right things in place so that one day cancer will be defeated, Hicks said.

Hicks was the inspiration for this year's Relay for Life theme - "Racing for a Cure."

The former Marine saved the life of Jack Roush, owner of NASCAR's Roush Racing, when his plane went down in a lake near Hicks' home.

"We are truly 'Racing for a Cure," Hicks said. "We are in this race to win so that others won't have to go through what we've been through. There are those who will not win their battles with cancer. That's why it is so important that we continue to race for a cure."

Hicks said he does not believe that God let him survive two bouts with cancer not to pay back something.

"Any time I can do something to help in the fight against cancer, I will do it," he said. "And, let me tell you something about Pike County; the people were there for me. If you have your church, your family and your friends with you when you are facing cancer,

then you've got it all."

Hicks encouraged everyone to be at the culminating event for Relay for Life Friday night and be a part of finding a cure for cancer.

Following a proclamation by Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford declaring the week of May 11-17 Relay for Life Week in Troy, several special awards were presented.

Kaye Jinright, a member of the survivors' committee, was honored for years of outstanding service. Jinright has held leadership roles in Relay for Life from 1995 through the 2003 campaign.

Hannah Daws of Brundidge was honored as the oldest survivor in attendance. Daws, 88, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979.

Velma Carroll was honored as the person in attendance who has survived cancer for the longest time, 39 years. Carroll of Troy also survived breast cancer.

Daws said she attended Relay for Life for the first time last year.

"I can't tell you what a thrill it was for me," she said. "There aren't words to tell you want it meant to me."

Carroll is a strong support of Relay and she walks for herself and for other family members who have been affected by the disease - her mother, sister, daughter, nephew

and niece.