Relay for life honors survivors
Published 11:22 pm Thursday, May 1, 2014
Hundreds gathered at Park Memorial Methodist Church to celebrate those who have survived the fight against cancer.
Tammy Calhoun, chairwoman of Pike County Relay for Life, said everyone’s attendance was significant.
“It gives people hope to know that we can gather this many survivors,” she said. “We can fight this. We just need somebody to hold on to.”
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves introduced this year’s caregiver of the year, Martha Lynn Drinkard. She lost her husband, Jim to multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, last July.
“No one is more deserving of being called caregiver of the year than Martha Lynn,” he said. “I’m so glad to have had him in my life and it’s an honor for me to be here tonight.”
Reeves used to work for Jim Drinkard. He said he learned about being a businessman, a husband and a father from Jim.
Former Superintendent of Troy City Schools Hank Jones was named this year’s honorary chair.
Long before Jones had cancer, he joined in the fight against it. Jones served as Pike County Relay for Life’s first chairman when the organization formed 20 years ago.
In 1958, when he was 10 years old, Jones’ dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 1959, his mother fainted and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In 1960, she died and in 1970 Jones’ dad died.
He has since lost a cousin and a sister to the disease. Jones said watching his sister die of lung cancer in 2006 was probably one of the hardest things he’d ever done.
“Relay for Life is a pathway to help each of us find a cure for this insidious disease,” he said. “Cancer is an insidious disease that claims way too many lives. But I refuse to let it define me.”