Thursday, August 11, 2011
HOPE Walk warms hearts
By SUE WATSON
The town of Byhalia held its second walk for the cure July 28 with about 40 people on hand for the event. There were hugs and a few tears and there were smiles and laughter and music, too. The Hope Walk raised $5,144, so far.
Donna Tankersley provided an interview concerning her journey with recurring melanoma since first being diagnosed in February 2010. She had surgery in February and September 2010 and a third surgery in May this year. She and her husband Sean praised the help they have received from doctors and oncologists.
The most recent spot was found by her husband in her scalp, a tiny spot about the size of a hair and about one-eighth inch long.
“They think they got it this time,” she said.
She visits the oncologist every six weeks.
A mother of two boys and grandmother, Tankersley said she has been on a kind of roller coaster emotionally since her first diagnosis.
“I think about cancer every day,” she said. “You want hope but you are scared. I do everything I am told to do now.”
“It’s scary,” said her husband, Sean.
“The day when the dermatologist called, my world just crashed,” D. Tankersley said.
But communication with doctors has improved as the couple have moved along, the couple said.
George Powell, who is a four-year survivor and served as honorary chairman of the HOPE walk at this event, said he is proud to be a cancer survivor. He said he has done nothing except get out of the way. He praised caregivers and doctors “for seeing that some of us are survivors.”
“My caregivers are the reason I am here today,” he said. “And we are here to honor our survivors and to pay tribute to our victims. There probably is no one in this country who has not been affected by cancer or had someone close to them with cancer.”
Melanie Counce, American Cancer Society partner for Marshall County, said a survivor is anyone who has lived one day past their diagnosis. Because Marshall County is so large – over 700 square miles – Counce said Relays are now being held at Potts Camp and Byhalia in addition to Holly Springs in order that local communities can participate easily.
Sky lanterns were launched in memory or in honor of survivors or caregivers – a huge hit and the perfect way to end the night, Counce said. Hope tees are still available as well as ‘think pink’ shirts, she said.
Entertainment was provided by Last Adam, a contemporary Christian rock band.
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