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My mom died of lung cancer four years ago. She was 82. My sister-in-law died of breast cancer two years ago. She was 56. They both fought long, hard battles — my sister-in-law fought for 12 years, and my mom fought for three years. They were emotionally, physically and spiritually strong. They are why I relay.
Losing them doesn’t seem real, and I often pick up the phone to call them. As I walked around the track tonight in front of the hospital making preparations for this year’s Relay for Life on May 17, I thought about the path that led me to relay.
Did losing two people I love to cancer happen to get me more involved? Whatever the case it’s been such a pleasure and joy to help plan this year’s event. I have met so many people, heard their stories, shed some tears and am so thankful the path led me to such a great organization as the American Cancer Society.
Another reason I relay is to raise money in hopes to find a cure of this dreadful disease. Because of cancer research, both my mom’s and sister-in-law’s physicians knew which course of treatment to take. It’s because of this research that they survived and continued to fight year after year. It brings a smile to my face knowing the ACS is fighting with us.
So when I walk this year my hope is the Wilson community will come out to this wonderful event, enjoy music, good food and good fellowship with others who are relaying for the same reasons.
The event will feature dozens of vendors/teams who will all have fun activities going on at their tables. Come out and participate in a cake walk or silent auction or stop by Bridgestone for a steak sandwich and Purdue for strawberry shortcake. Let the kids sit in a fire truck or slide down a huge inflatable. But, more importantly, I hope you will come out to enjoy life, friends, family, strangers, and neighbors and join me in the fight.
Relay for Life of Wilson County is Friday, May 17 from 6 p.m. to midnight at Wilson Medical Center’s walking track.
Lisa Briley is the event lead for Wilson’s Relay for Life. She is also director of marketing and development, physician recruitment and provider relations at Wilson Medical Center.