LIMA — Cancer survivors, those who have been affected by the disease and their supporters gathered for a night of hope Friday night during the Relay for Life of Lima at Lima Senior High School.
It was the 25th anniversary for the relay in Lima and the theme was “Celebrating 25 Years of Silver Linings.”
The event kicked off with Mercy Health hosting the survivor’s dinner, sponsored by Dr. Sandra Herrington, Mercy Health Radiation Oncologist, at The Commons at Lima Senior High School where cancer survivors and their caregivers were treated to a dinner. There were 400 people attending the dinner. There were 182 cancer survivors with the remaining people being their caregivers. Survivors received their survivor T-shirts, had their picture taken and were entered into raffle drawings. Harlans Barbecue, Pandora, catered the dinner.
Linda Cook, 69, and her friend Linda Settlemire, 70, both of Lima, have been participating in the relay in Lima since 2007.
The friends were diagnosed with breast cancer with Cook being diagnosed in 2005 and Settlemire diagnosed in 2000.
“They found a cancer lump on my right breast and discovered it during a routine mammogram,” Cook said. She had a lumpectomy, surgery and then a mastectomy and she underwent chemo for four months and radiation for 100 treatments. She said it is important to have Relay for Life to raise funds to help those who have cancer.
Settlemire was diagnosed with breast cancer after her sister encouraged her to get a mammogram in 2000.
“It was the year my daughter was getting married and I got called to the office where I was told I had breast cancer,” Settlemire said. She had a lumpectomy after cancer was found in her right breast and had 35 radiation treatments.
She said she is grateful to be alive and be around others who have survived cancer.
The relay at Spartan Stadium included 16 teams who participated with the fundraising goal of $85,000, according to Alli Hermiller, American Cancer Society community development manager. The funds raised will go to support cancer researchers across the county, local programs in Allen County such as Road to Recovery, where patients can receive free rides to and from treatments and a wig program where patients can receive a free wig while going through treatment.
Mayor David Berger read a proclamation declaring June 21 to 23 as Relay for Life Weekend encouraging the community to support those whose lives have been effected by cancer. Physicians and nurses passed out purple medallions to honor survivors who wore purple T-shirts. Cheryl Nagy served as this year’s event chair.
There were raffle and auction items at the stadium during the relay with proceeds going to the ACS.
“I think it is important that we come together as a community to show our support for those affected so that they know no one fights alone,” Hermiller said.
The opening ceremony began with cancer survivors walking a lap around the track. Participants could purchase luminary bags and decorate and personalize each bag to represent their loved ones who have lost their battle and are currently fighting their battle. The night was a celebration of those who have survived a cancer diagnosis, those currently fighting cancer, and remembering those that have lost the fight.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.