Relay For Life Dinner Honors Caregivers, Survivors

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- The American Cancer Society honored cancer survivors and their caregivers on Sunday.

Survivors shared their stories and all came together to remember those who struggled, but lost the fight to cancer. It was a chance for people to celebrate their life. As survivors and their loved ones came together, they remembered the long road to remission.

"I was terrified when I realized she had it. You know, I was hoping it would be me. I wanted to go through it, I don't want her to go through that," said Curtis Skates, a caregiver to Sharon Skates.

Others echoed how hard receiving an initial diagnosis can be for patients and friends.

"I was scared. And I still am, you know you have your moments," said Dawn Thomas.

Thomas finished treatments for Leukemia in September of 2013. Before, she had already fought breast cancer.

"I got closer to God and I asked him to come into my life. Everything took a turn around and it was OK," said Thomas.

In tears, she thanked her husband, who was her caregiver.

"Just, I'm so happy that he's beside of me. And he's wonderful. I couldn't ask for anything better," said Thomas.

Melissa Lowe, who underwent 16 surgeries for breast cancer, echoed how supporting others is key to Relay For Life.

"I don't know why I'm still here, I feel like God must still have something for me to do. But I'm happy to be here and happy to support other survivors and people going through breast cancer," said Lowe, a survivor.

During the reception, people stopped for a moment of silence to remember lost loved ones. Supporters say research for treatments is crucial.

"Give everything that you have to your loved one, and your spouse, because that's the time that they need you the most," said Scott Lowe, Melissa's caregiver and spouse.

Relay teams will be walking together on Friday night in hops to one day see a world without Cancer.

"Thousands of people coming together in this area to raise money to help people here locally is amazing," said Sharon Skates, a survivor.


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