Relaying Hope For Battle

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, May 8, 2011

He was just like any other seventh-grader at EnterpriseAttendance Center, playing football and basketball and attendingchurch. However, in September, his life drastically changed.

Hunter Rushing, 13, now knows words like T-cell Lymphoma andchemotherapy and understands the effects of going through cancertreatments and what it is like to fight for your life.

“He went from a normal 12-year-old little boy’s life tohousebound and hospital-bound basically,” said Rushing’s mom,Tonya.

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Hunter Rushing made dozens of hospital visits and needs his momto fill in the details of some of his days there due to the highdose of chemotherapy used to battle his cancer.

“It was horrible,” said Rushing. “Just unbearable the feelingsthat I felt.”

While the fight isn’t over, doctors are saying Rushing iscancer-free.

“I guess it’s what the good Lord wanted for me and it probablyhelped some people, opened some eyes for some people,” he said.

Hope. That was what Rushing’s story and similar tales of allthose who attended Lincoln County’s Relay for Life on Friday atExchange Club Park gave visitors at the American Cancer Society’sbiggest fundraising event.

“It’s through community events like this that we fight back,”said Kathy Prospere, community representative with the AmericanCancer Society.

Money raised from the relay will go toward the American CancerSociety to assist in education, advocacy, research andservices.

“This is a year-long event leading up to this relay,” saidLincoln County Relay for Life Chairman Cindie Chambers.

Teams began raising money in September and will continue raisingmoney until August 1. Participants devise creative ways tofundraise for the American Cancer Society until Relay For Life,where all the teams set up and decorate their tents to collectivelyraise money.

“All things considered, there was so much stuff going on Fridaynight, we just have to consider it a great success,” saidChambers.

Chambers said they have raised $73,000 thus far and still havetwo more full months to reach their goal of $80,000.

The annual fundraising event consists of a relay, in which teammembers walk laps in honor, remembrance and celebration of thosewho have fought, fight and will fight cancer.

“Something happens to me, hopefully someone walks for me, too,”said Corey Jones, who was walking for his grandfather, ClemDaughdrill, and late grandmother, ZoeAnn Jones.

The relay, which began at 7 p.m. lasted until 4:30 a.m., is anemotional event. Stories of success and stories of loss flow fromthe crowd, but the function gives people a chance to fight backagainst a disease that affects most people in one way or anotherand allows participants a chance to offer support.

“It’s right there behind the treatments,” cancer survivor JoBeth Thompson said of support.