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Relay participants work to be advocates for cure

Brookhaven’s James Chambers held one of the banners leading 40other people in the survivors’ lap at the yearly Relay for LifeFriday at Exchange Club Park, his purple shirt the only outwardsign that he fought a life-and-death battle with colon cancer.

Chambers was diagnosed in 2002 as being in advanced stages ofthe cancer, and his doctor did the procedure on the spot, hesaid.

“Now I’m eight years out, and I’m still cancer-free,” hesaid.

It’s for others like him that Chambers participates in the Relayfor Life, he said.

“It helps raise money to fight this disease,” he said. “And Iknow we’re going to get a cure one of these days.”

Like Chambers, Sheila Sartin is a survivor, though her foe wasstage two breast cancer.

“We need to not only donate, we need to be advocates,” she said.”Eleven million cancer survivors will celebrate birthdays this yearbecause of what we do here tonight.”

Relay for Life Co-Chair Cindie Chambers said the event was asuccess in spite of impending weather, with the 14 teams earningabout $60,000 so far.

“It went great, and the weather held out and we had a goodtime,” she said. “We did call it a little early because the rainstarted to come.”

Cindie Chambers said the community generally has a good turnoutfor the yearly event because cancer is such a prevalent problem intoday’s world.

“I would daresay there’s probably not a person in this communitythat hasn’t been affected one way or another, personally or someonethey knew by this disease,” she said. “Cancer is such anoverwhelming thing right now, I believe everyone in this communityhas been affected.”

And the money goes to a larger cause as well, Cindie Chamberselaborated.

“The American Cancer Society has four Nobel Peace Prize winnerson their research staff, and it’s because of money raised onrelays,” she said. “It’s that money that enables them to have theresearch that they do.”

In addition to all the donations and participation, relayofficials are grateful for the help they get from the Exchange Clubduring the relay each year, Cindie Chambers said.

“They’re a major part of why we’re able to be there,” she said.”It makes it a more family oriented atmosphere, and families ingeneral can come and have good fellowship as a group.”