OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people gathered at Greyhound Stadium in Ocean Springs on Friday night for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. It's an event that helps brings awareness to cancer, as well as show support to those still in their fight with the terrible disease.
The event began with a lap around the track in honor of cancer survivors.
Kevin and Sheila Kowalewski have been married for a little over a year. At the age of 27, Sheila says she would have never thought she'd be calling herself a cancer survivor.
"So often we hear the word cancer and we think 'automatic death sentence. I'm going to die, I'm too young to die', but technology and the medical fields have come so far," Sheila said.
Sheila says if it wasn't for supporters, like her husband, she wouldn't know what she would do or where she may be. He's just happy to be able to bring awareness to others.
"It's a lot easier being a survivor than it is fighting cancer, I know that. I think this is good, especially raising awareness. I didn't even know what thyroid cancer was until my wife got it," Kevin said.
Stephanie Lee is another survivor, but she is still fighting cancer. She says just being alive to fight another day and to have great friends as a support is more than enough.
"To know that I'm not alone in this fight, that's the biggest thing to me. When I started out, I felt like I was alone. So to see that I'm not, it makes me feel extremely special. I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Lee said, as her eyes filled with tears.
Kirk Dyer is happy to be someone Stephanie can call on for support.
"Individuals that are going through ordeals like this need support, because that helps them get through the situation they're in," Dyer said.
"I love everybody that stood there and supported me through this ordeal and for anybody that's out there fighting, to keep hope, because there's always a cure," Lee said.
A luminary ceremony was also held Friday night where lanterns were lit in memory of those who lost the fight with cancer, and those who are still fighting.
The entire Relay for Life event will wrap up Saturday morning at 6 a.m.