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What does the ‘Relay’ mean to me?

Posted on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Rhonda Burns


When I think of the Relay, I think of Faith, Hope and Love.

FAITH that someday there will be a complete cure for this dreadful disease. HOPE that I, or no one else, will have to endure the pain and suffering that is caused from it. And LOVE for my family and friends, who have had to endure this awful disease.

I began Relaying approximately 20 years ago as a member of the Goodman Employees’ team. Through this experience, I have learned what a generous and caring community in which we live. I have also learned that strength to face and overcome the impossible is gained through the support and encouragement of not only our team members but each and every individual involved in the Relay. Working together, supporting each other, the impossible becomes possible.

Relay night is a time for fun, a time for love and a time to honor the many who have survived. It is also a time to remember the ones who lost the battle. As a caregiver, you sit on the sideline and act as a cheerleader, lending moral support to the victim and wishing you could ease their pain and suffering somehow. Relay night provides the opportunity to become a part of the whole team, celebrating the victories, enjoying games, seeing old friends and making new ones. Everyone present has a common goal, to put an end to this horrible disease.

Over the past years, each time I walked the laps around the track, I remembered those we have lost. This year I am happy to be serving on the Lincoln County Relay for Life Committee as the luminaria chair. Serving in this capacity will give me the opportunity to help others remember the friends and loved ones who they have lost, helping to keep their memory alive.

In 208 my husband, Terrell Burns, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We went through a series of chemotherapy treatments. Afterward, he was asked to become a part of a research program. Today, I am proud to say he has been cancer free for seven years. Going through all of this with my husband, I feel honored to be able to walk a lap as a caregiver and equally honored that he can walk beside me as a survivor. Together, we walk in memory of his brother, whom we lost to cancer. Together, we hope that our participation with Relay will somehow benefit the many others who are fighting this horrible battle.

RELAY may be a small word, but it has a big meaning for the many, especially myself, who are involved in it.

The 2018 Lincoln County Relay for Life will be held here in Fayetteville in May. A major fundraiser for the event is the Night of Hope Ball, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 10, at Sacred Stone Event Center. The evening of fun includes dinner, an auction and dancing. Tickets are $50 per couple and may be purchased by calling Emily Hunter at 931-993-9331, Lisa Salvador at 931-625-3256, or Tracy Holder at 931-227-8744.