The air was saturated with emotion as cancer survivors, caregivers, and supporters gathered for the annual Pike County Relay for Life fundraiser at the Pike County Fairgrounds this past Saturday, Sept. 21.
Melanoma survivor Wayne Young, of New Hartford, said the crowd of 200 came “for their own benefit and others too. This cancer’s a serious thing and we have to get a handle on it.”
Sitting next to him at the opening ceremonies, prior to the five hours of team walkers, was Bud Henderson, a friend of Young’s since childhood.
“I just found out (recently) that I had cancer in my backbone,” Henderson said. “I’m glad I came because I’ve talked to a lot of people and it’s been very encouraging to me.”
Judy Ray was there to support the survivors.
“I have family members and really good friends who have had cancer,” she said. “I’m here to show people I care.”
Sarah Sheets found out about the ravages of cancer as she took on the role of caregiver when her mother, CynDee Jones, battled the disease.
“She’s a three-year cancer survivor,” Sheets said. “She had lung cancer and it went to her back. I helped her in and out of bed to learn how to walk all over again.