PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Years ago hearing the words "you have cancer" was often more like a death sentence, but with advances in the medical field more people are surviving.
Each year events like Relay for Life pay tribute to cancer survivors. On Saturday the survivors were honored further with a dinner at the Pascagoula Senior Center.
Attendees say excellent treatment isn't the only reason they were able to become survivors.
"It's kinda like a numb feeling. As soon as he said the words, "You have cervical cancer," it was just like everything he said after that, I had no clue what he said after that. My first thought was what are my kids gonna do what is my family gonna do," Cancer survivor Christine Carter said.
Carter fought cancer twice and was cleared of it in 2008 she shared the feeling many other cancer survivors felt after first hearing they had the deadly illness. She was among survivors from across the Coast who where acknowledged at the Relay for Life Survivors Dinner.
"It's a tremendous battle and it's very important to honor these folks, who have fought that fight and have won that battle," Pascagoula police Sgt. Doug Adams said.
Vicki Parker fought uterine cancer and later bladder cancer. She was cleared of cancer in 2010, but not without numerous chemo and radiation treatments. Through it all she says the support of loved ones helped. The gathering was her chance to also offer support as well as be supported.
"By honoring survivors it helps those who are in treatment now to know that you can survive. You can survivor," Parker said.
But the confidence from knowing you can survive has to come from someone. Those who lived to tell their tale say a higher power gave them the assurance they needed.
"I believe in God. I believe in prayer. Of course we gotta have some good doctors. They learn more everyday," Cancer survivor Simon David Buckley said.
"Keep faith. And no matter what those doctors say God comes first and foremost. And just keep fighting and never give up," Carter added.
While these survivors draw strength from each other and share their story of hope they want others fighting cancer to be inspired by their resilience and positive attitude.
The Pascagoula Police Department helped organize the dinner. If you are interested in supporting the fight against cancer there will be a Relay for Life at Singing River Mall on May 3 at 6 p.m.