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Cancer survivors honored

It was an emotional celebration at the American Cancer Society, Pike County Survivors’ Dinner Tuesday night.

275 cancer survivors joined their family and friends who helped them fight the disease, and packed into the Park Memorial Methodist Church to rejoice in survival, support and hope.

The numerous round tables adorned with purple “hope” signs, were filled with a captivated audience who finished their meals and listened to the familiar voice of WTBF’s Ralph Black, this years Honorary Relay for Life Chair.

Black, a two-time survivor of cancer, wasted no time recognizing one of the most important weapons in the fight against the disease, the caregivers.

“If it hadn’t been for my dear, sweet wife Cheryl, I probably wouldn’t be standing here today,” he said.

Black also commended the stellar performance of Pike County’s Relay for Life efforts.

“When you find out you’re…top-10 per-capita in the nation, you’re proud of that,” he said.

Survivors Event Committee member Claire Murphy, turned the audiences attention back to caregivers.

Murphy proceeded to prompt all the caregivers in the audience to stand up and be recognized and she encouraged a round of applause and embrace.

“That’s one way to get a hug from your husband,” she joked as Mr. Murphy returned to his seat beside her.

It was then time to recognize the Caregiver of the Year.

“In 1968, Mike Griffin made a commitment to Dale with these words,” Murphy said with tears in her eyes. “In sickness and in health.”

Murphy explained that two years ago, Griffin’s wife Dale was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Since then he has displayed an unwavering commitment in supporting her in her struggle against cancer. Griffin was honored with the Caregiver of the Year award.

He emotionally received the award that while honorable, is a difficult one to accept. Just before the night wrapped up special awards for survivors were presented. Of those were Martha Griffin, the eldest cancer survivor at 94, Rosalee Boswell whose 52 years of life beyond cancer diagnosis was the most in the room, and Alex Morgan who will be having his eight birthday party at Relay For Life Friday, and was the youngest survivor at the dinner.