Relay for Life takes over 2 towns to find a cure - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Relay for Life takes over 2 towns to find a cure

Relay For Life has raised money for cancer research for the past 32 years. (Photo source: WLOX) Relay For Life has raised money for cancer research for the past 32 years. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Dozens gathered in two different counties on Friday, all in hopes of finding a cure for cancer.

For 32 years, the American Cancer Society has invited people to join survivors in the Relay For Life. For community manager and special events planner Liz Gaulke, it's always a great event.

"Very inspiring. I've had people say, 'Well it's so sad.' It's not sad," Gaulke said. "When you watch the survivors and how they interact with their families, their friends, other survivors, it's very inspiring because they've been through a big fight and here they are."

The Gulfport event started under Barksdale Pavilion, where various vendors set up shop to help raise money for cancer research. One of those vendors was Coast entrepreneur - and recent cancer survivor - "Scuba Steve" Johnson.

"Things are going good, I'm struggling a lot in the aftermath of the cancer. It's a lot to deal with, more than I thought after the finish line. But, I'm dealing with it with the same passion I did to battle it and fight it and win it," Johnson said.

Johnson has been able to help others going through the same trials that he overcame.

"My Facebook. I get a lot of messages from people who are struggling, and I help them as much as I can. My experiences and that feels good to help out. I know what they're going through. It's tough and they need that support so I'm glad to do it," said Johnson. 

In St. Martin, the relay began with the traditional 'Survivors Lap'. It's something that two time cancer survivor Sondra Boney says she looks forward to each year.

"The people that it involves, you know. It's a community event. It's great to see this many people here tonight that are here to support the survivors, but also research, and those that we've lost to cancer," said Boney.

When asked what she would say to someone fighting the disease, Boney said, "Don't give up the fight. There's a lot of people that are standing behind you and are right there with you. We'll be walking from dusk till dawn in support of you."

The American Cancer Society will hold another Relay for Life in Hancock County on Saturday, Aug. 5. Information about getting involved or donating can be found at www.cancer.org.

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