Knox County Celebrates ACS Relay For Life
By David Sharp
Area cancer survivors sent balloons soaring into wispy clouds, celebrating their victory over the dread disease during the American Cancer Society Knox County Relay For Life, held June 5-6 at Edina. Well over 300 community residents enjoyed musical entertainment and several prime time food offerings.
The community showed support for friends and family members currently battling cancer. Patients and survivors ranged in age from 20 month old Matthew Clark to those in their seventh decade of life and above.
Edina resident Matthew Clark has fought for his life since it’s inception. Mathew’s grandmother, Diane Bradley of Novelty is a cancer survivor. Both marched in the Survivor Lap with approximately 65-70 others.
Emcee Gary Fagan introduced long time ACS volunteer Betty Couch for the welcoming address. Brother Allen Davidson gave the Invocation. Edina resident Fred Kinsel sang the National Anthem as the Cyril Graham Knox County chapter of the American Legion presented the colors.
Nine participating Relay teams were introduced following the Survivor and Caregiver’s Lap. Chuck Hayes presented musical and dance entertainment.
The Danielle Dance Program, Kids 4 A Cure team captain Lyndsie Poor, The Hamlin Girls, Hollianne Jackson, The Backroads Band, along with Lisa and Laura Blake entertained until the Luminaria Program.
“All the teams had unique fund raisers,” said American Cancer Society Community Manager Brenda Carlin. “Mark Twain Telephone had yard ornaments, which I thought was a great way to reuse and recycle old bowling balls.”
Growing Closer to a Cure was the theme of this year’s Knox County Relay for Life.
“The Hawkins (Insurance) basket auction was great,” said Carlin. “All the teams had something. Food and other items to sell. I always take items from Knox County and try to share them with other events to give them some good ideas.”
Carlin talked about the need for persons diagnosed with cancer or their families to contact the American Cancer Society for support. Privacy laws prevent providers or others from relating information. The phone number to call is 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org on the Internet.
Brenda Carlin manages ACS operations in Knox, Adair, Clark, Macon, Scotland and Shelby counties. The Purple Healers team featured hot beef plates, selling from 60-70 plates. Team members reported they could have sold at least 30 more before running out of ingredients.
The Citizens’ Bank of Edina Moneychangers went through nine gallons of ice cream in the course of making their ever popular banana splits.
Mark Twain Telephone offered tasty Barbeque sandwiches. Those selections were enjoyed by this reporter. There were many others available, including C Troop’s loaded baked potatoes and Nachos.
The Hawkins Insurance team offered burgers, hot dogs and walking tacos. The Friends team had homemade pies. The Knox County Nursing Home had a food stand with Magical Beans among other offerings. Several youngsters sported painted faces by Kids 4 A Cure.
The Relay For Life is one of Knox County’s top entertainment and festival events of the season. The Relay has a serious side that was never far from the surface.
Event organizers sold 1,076 luminaries. The white paper bags with a candle inside represented honorarium for cancer survivors and workers as well as those who have lost their lives to cancer.
Family members and volunteers lit those candles at the solemn dusk Luminaria Ceremony. Relay participants walked laps around the nearly two block long course, with the double lined Luminaries in the center.
Cancer survivors Karen Hall and Linda Banks gave public testimony of their personal battles. Karen Hall cited her faith in God as well as support from family and friends as keys to winning her fight with cancer. Karen Hall is a retired member of the Missouri Division Of Aging. She currently serves the community as a member of the Knox County R-I schools Board of Education.
Linda Banks joined the Knox County Ambulance District in August of 1982. Mrs. Banks is a past Ambulance District Director and currently serves the District as a dispatcher. Her story of perseverance was riveting.
Linda Banks went to four doctors over a period of months before being diagnosed with colon cancer. “Sometimes they have tunnel vision,” said Linda Banks. She told a story of being
examined by several physicians who were unable to detect the cause of her pain.
“If you know your own body, and you have a pain somewhere or you are not feeling well on a daily basis. If you are losing weight there is something wrong.”
Linda Banks told of pain after eating, losing 40 pounds in two months. She was told the problem was her gall bladder or a stomach issue.
“You don’t give up,” said Linda Banks. “You keep going and you keep talking to them. Even if they refer you on, and you still are not getting the results you feel you need, you need to get their attention,” said Banks.
Mrs. Banks father, Elvin Morrow of Knox City died of cancer. “I woke up one night with a very sharp pain in my back,” said Linda Banks. “That’s how it started after several weeks of not feeling well. It wouldn’t go away. I know my body, and I decided I wanted to know what was wrong with me.”
“I had no signs or symptoms of colon cancer,” said Banks. “I had a nervous stomach in high school. I didn’t fill the prescription for a blue capsule (for stomach problems.) “ Mrs. Banks’ local physician referred her to a Columbia, Mo. Doctor at her request.
That Boone Clinic physician finally discovered colon cancer. “She told me my news wasn’t good,” related Linda Banks. “I knew what my news was going to be, because my father had colon cancer. I had a cry, and then I told my doctor that we needed to get busy because I’m going to beat this.”
“I was a lucky one,” said Banks of her successful surgery. “My tumor was contained in a sack. They removed it all. I did not have to have chemo or radiation. I was a smoker. I gave up my cigarettes, because I thought I had a second chance and I’m going to take care of myself.”
“That was 14 years ago,” said Banks. “August 21, of this year it will be 15 years. You can fight and beat cancer with a lot of faith, a lot of prayer and your attitude is very important.”
“If you are sick, you need to get a check up and find out what is going on with you,” said the proud cancer survivor. “Early detection of cancer makes a world of difference.”
The Knox County all community choir performed Christian Hymns I Know Who Holds Tomorrow and Amazing Grace.
Knox County Relay For Life Committee members Jeff Doss, Brenda Carlin, Betty Couch, Nena Palmer, Janice McGinnis, Carol Lee Bishop, Virginia Carpenter, Carol Hayes, Jeanne Mitchell, Karen Hall, Clarissa Brenizer, Barb Hunziker, Wanda Gragg, Sean Bonnell, Linda Banks, Ken Mitchell, Rita Glasgow, Charlie Hamlin, Phil Gragg, Peggy Motter and Rose Marble took to the track for a Flower Power Theme Lap.
Relay team captains Jeanie Ewing, Leann McCabe, Betty Couch, Pam Doss, Cack Strickler, Karen Hall, Ken Mitchell, Carolyn Snelling, Jean McMahon, Janet Long, Wanda Gragg, Dude Willier and Lyndsie Poor received a flower along with Committee members. Some people wore two hats, as team captain and committee member.
The Knox County Relay For Life had a goal of $36,000. Over $25,000 had been raised before the Relay began according to Committee member Janice McGinnis. There will be a golf tournament held at the Edina Country Club on July 19, 2009 benefiting the Relay For Life.
Hawkins Insurance won the first place award for the ever popular lip synch contest. The Knox County Nursing Home team drew a pizza party prize sponsored by Ken and Jeanne Mitchell.
The Citizens Bank of Edina and C Troop took home participation prizes from the lip synch contest.