From the Register-Mail:
Hope and joy filled the air at Fridayâ€™s Relay for Life event at Knox College, as hundreds of supporters pledged to fight cancer with all the courage of those who battle the disease on a daily basis.
Survivors were honored, and the memories of those who didnâ€™t win but fought with all their heart were celebrated. Donna Larsonâ€™s son Jeff passed away, age 19, after contracting liver cancer. She volunteered at Fridayâ€™s relay. â€œWe do it all in memory of Jeff,â€ she said. â€œI just donâ€™t want any other families to go through what weâ€™ve been through. I hope someday we never have to hear the word cancer again.â€
Joyce Jackson, Galesburg, had attended Relay for Life as a supporter, then as someone battling breast cancer, and now as a survivor…..
Knox County Relay for Life has raised more than $1 million to fight cancer. But just as important is the way the event brings people together and spreads awareness of the disease.
â€œFor me it raises awareness for myself and my age group to really start taking care of yourself and getting yourself checked for breast cancer, for cervical cancer,â€ said relay volunteer Anne Giffey.
Of course, Relay for Life is also about having fun and there was plenty of that to go around Friday. â€œWe do crazy things because we are all a little crazy,â€ Giffey said. â€œThink back to high school and all the things you did on homecoming week, thatâ€™s really what relay is like especially later in the night.â€
Val Boucher, Roanoke, another volunteer at the event, survived a rare form of leukemia, first 15 years ago and then again five years ago. He was determined to encourage people to take a stand against cancer.
â€œThe reason Iâ€™m here tonight is that Iâ€™m doing the Fight Back Ceremony,â€ Boucher said. â€œThatâ€™s an opportunity for you to make a decision to say what will you do in the next 365 days to fight cancer.â€ He added, â€œThis is an opportunity for everybody to stand up take a pledge and be able to do something to save a life.â€