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A reason for Hope
Jane and Larry Flatt beam while surrounded by purple and white balloons during the survivor’s walk down Main Street. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Among the survivors at Saturday’s Relay for Life were Chloe Williamson, 16, and Emma Walker, 7. 

The girls said they became friends when they were sick with childhood leukemia. Chloe was diagnosed several years ago while Emma was just 27 months old. Both are in remission now and were eager to participate in the survivor’s walk.

Emma’s mom Holly Walker voiced her delight at seeing the girls around people who truly understand their journey.

“This is the one time that they are with people who know how they feel instead of being in a classroom where the kids have no clue about what they’ve gone through,” said Walker. “I think it’s important for everyone to support Relay because it can always be them or someone in their family affected by cancer.”

Rock Island resident Wilson Martin also spoke joyfully of being in a four-year remission from prostate cancer.

“I’m so grateful for another chance to live and look at life differently instead of taking it for granted,” said Martin with a smile. “That’s why we’re here to contribute to the event and give back a little bit.”

For Randall Pendergraph, early detection saved his life. He proudly placed his pink handprint onto the 2019 Survivor Sheet after being cancer-free for a year.

That’s what Relay for Life is all about – people. Honoring survivors, remembering loved ones and helping raise funds to support those still fighting cancer. So far, this year’s Relay for Life has raised $62,000 with money still coming in, according to organizer Carla Savage.

“The weather was wonderful and downtown McMinnville is so pretty,” said Savage. “We had more survivors to walk our lap this year and our auction did more than normal – $4,500.”