Spotlight on cancer survivors

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

“Lights, Camera, Take Action” is the theme for the 2011 Pike County Relay for Life campaign and cancer survivors were in the spotlight Tuesday night at the annual Pike County Cancer Survivors Dinner at Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Troy.

Tammy Calhoun, the honorary co-chair for the 2011 Pike County Relay for Life stepped into the spotlight to do what she believes is God’s plan for her.

“I don’t know why I have cancer but I know that the Good Lord has blessed me so I’m treating this thing like I’m homecoming queen. I plan to use this opportunity to the best of my ability. I hope that I can say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done to make a different in the lives of others.”

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At the 2010 Survivors’ dinner, Calhoun sat in the back of the room and cried.

“I had just had a round of chemo the day before and I listen as others told about surviving cancer twice, and I prayed that the Lord would let me survive it once,” she said.

But it was the smiling faces and the words of encouragement that gave Calhoun hope.

“I thought, ‘They did it. I can do it.’ That’s when I decided that I was going to run with this thing. I was going to be homecoming queen.”

Calhoun said many strides have been made in the treatment of cancer and lives are being saved every day.

“But there is still work to be done,” she said. “I am honored and blessed to be able to do this job.”

Breaking with tradition, two Caregiver of the Year awards were given at the dinner.

Frank Sadler was nominated by his wife, Patty, for the love and care that he has given her, not just during her ongoing battle with cancer, but all the years that they have spent together.

“Every day Frank tells me that he loves me,” she wrote. “God put us together until death we do part.”

Tracy Shaver of Goshen nominated Troy and Marla Johnson for the wonderful care they gave to their four-year-old daughter EB during her battle with cancer.

“They put their trust in God and took wonderful care of their sweet, courageous little daughter,” Shaver wrote.

“Troy and Marla never lost hope and never left EB’s side. EB made a difference in so many lives and heaven is now a brighter place because she is there.”

Special awards were given to the youngest survivor, the oldest survivor and the longest survivor of cancer.

The Youngest Survivor Award was presented to Delaney Davenport. Jeanette Caldwell received the award for the Oldest Survivor and Rosa Boswell was the longest survivor of cancer at 52 years.

Luella Giles, Health Initiative Representative for the American Cancer Society, congratulated those who have survived the journey with cancer.

“The American Cancer Society is working hard to prolong life and the quality of it,” Giles said. “We want you to keep having birthdays.”

The Pike County Survivors Dinner was sponsored by Boutwell Floor Covering and Synco Drugs.

Taylor Jinright and Pam Nix are the co-chairs of the 2011 Relay for Life campaign. The Survivors Committee members are April Sneed, chair, Kay Sneed, Debbie Headley, Gwyn Huggins, Charlesetta Townsend Jones, Amy Spurlock and Jeff Spurlock.