BI Relay for Life hosts survivor social

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The annual Buffalo Island Relay for Life American Cancer Survivor Social was held Sunday afternoon at the Leachville Community Center. Survivors were welcomed with each one being recognized. Survivors ranged from three months to 25 year survivors.

Members of the Buffalo Island Relay for Life steering committee served refreshments at the Survivor Social held Sunday afternoon. (Town Crier photos/Revis Blaylock)

Relay Chairman Brenda Matheny and Survivor chairman Sharon McKinney welcomed everyone. This year's theme, "Creating more birthdays one step at a time," was used in the decorations.

"This is the ninth year for the Buffalo Island Relay for Life," McKinney said. "Through the efforts of our volunteers and communities throughout Buffalo Island, over $244,000 has been raised."

This year's Buffalo Island Relay theme is Decades through the Years.

McKinney offered information on the positive advancement of cancer research and treatments through the decades.

1940s - The American Cancer Society promoted pap tests and saw a 70 percent mortality-rate decrease from cervical cancer.

Honorary survivors were presented with plaques. Pictured are, from left: Patsy Crews, representing Caraway; Helen Winstead, representing Manila; and Jerry Bates, representing Leachville. Not pictured - Mary Robertson, Lake City; Debbie Sexton, Monette; and John Kisner, Black Oak.

Researchers developed the first successful use of chemotherapy for cancer.

1960s -- Cancer prevention study 1 leads Surgeon General to link cigarette smoking to cancer.

1970s -- ACS invests over $1 million to prove mammography is best tool to detect breast cancer.

ACS researcher pioneers technique of bone marrow transplant to treat cancer.

1980s -- ACS research localizes BRCA1 gene for inherited susceptibility to breast cancer.

ACS Researcher finds tamoxifen reduces breast cancer incidence 45 percent in high-risk women.

2000s -- Gleevec is approved for treatment of leukemia, based on clinic trials by ACS researcher.

FDA approves vaccine against strains of human papilloma virus (HPV) that cause most cases of cervical cancer. A former ACS researcher is pivotal in development of several cervical cancer vaccines.

She shared statistics related to Arkansas through the Relay efforts including transportation grants, college scholarships, lodging for cancer paints, grants and more.

"We are here to celebrate life," McKinney said. "We are also here to support each other."

This year's Relay for Life is in memory of Ronnie Horner, longtime committee member who died in February.

"Ronnie was a great support of the Buffalo Island Relay for Life," McKinney said. "He was the one who made me aware of the group and got me involved."

Matheny said she could always count on Ronnie to do what needed to be done.

"He worked hard and we will miss him," Matheny said.

Each year honorary survivors are chosen to represent their hometown. They will lead the victory lap the night of the Relay which will be held Friday, June 25, at the Leachville City Park.

Honorary survivors for 2010 Buffalo Island Relay for Life are Jerry Bates, Leachville; Patsy Crews, Caraway; Mary Robertson, Lake City; Debbie Sexton, Monette; Helen Winstead, Manila; and John Kisner, Black Oak.

Each were presented a plaque.

Candles were lit in honor of the survivors, in memory of those who lost their battle to cancer, and one in memory of Mr. Horner.

Drawings were held for door prizes provided by local businesses.

"We look forward to seeing each and every one of you at this year's Relay for Life," Matheny said.

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