Pam Little found reason to ‘Relay’

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, April 30, 2009

From the very start, Pam Little had a reason.

She was the advisor of the Twilighters, a high school sorority, and one of the members had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and the Twilighters participated in R,elay for Life in honor of her.

“That year, 1995, it was freezing cold, but I was so inspired by the good work that was being done through Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society that I knew that Relay was something I wanted to be a part of,” said Little, who is co-chair of the 2009 Pike County Relay for Life campaign.

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The Twilighter lost her battle with cancer, but the fight she waged inspired others to join the fight in hopes that more lives could be saved.

“I then got involved with the SARHA team where my husband, John, is chief executive officer, and I’ve been involved ever since,” Little said. “Six years ago, I lost my dad to lung cancer so the fight against cancer became very personal to me. Since then, John’s mother was lost to leukemia so the fight against cancer is even more personal to us.”

Little’s grandmother also lost her life to cancer so cancer has touched her family many times.

“I decided if there was anything that I could do to keep just one other family from having to go through what we had gone through, I wanted to do it,” Little said. “Cancer is a devastating disease and I hope that, one day, nobody will have to go through it.”

But Little knows that much will have to done in the way of research, development and education before that day comes.

“Every dollar that we raise for Relay is a tiny step closer to that day,” she said.

The Relay for Life event is filled with memorable moments for most all of those who attend and, for Little, there are many.

“Looking back there are so many special moments but the one that really stands out in my mind is the year after my dad died in January,” she said. “I wanted to work especially hard because everything that I did, I did in memory of him. And, too, the SARHA Relay team dedicated their efforts to him. It was just a very special and moving moment for me.”

Little said the Survivors Walk and the Luminary Walk are highlights of every Relay for Life event.

“The Survivors Walk is what our fundraising efforts are all about,” she said. “The dollars that we raise help save lives and, when those who have claimed victories over the disease take a lap around the track, we see that what we are doing does make a difference. To me, the Survivors Walk is why we keep doing what we do and why people continue to give.

“The Luminary Walk is a time to remember those who lost their battles with the disease and honor their memories. The Luminary Walk is a very reverent and emotional time. And, while it’s a time to remember loved ones and friends, it’s also a reminder that our work will not be done until we find a cure for this terrible disease that affects all of us in some way.”