Prattville – Friday night’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life kicked off at the East YMCA in Prattville in spite of the threat of severe weather, but rain and lightning forced the tents down early at about 9:30 PM.
A crowd of several hundred, including cancer survivors and caregivers, attended before the event was precluded.
Co-chairman of the fundraiser, Richard Cables, said that about thirty-six teams showed up at 6:00 PM and the activities began with an invocation and a few words from Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr.
“The Relay for Life is actually in three parts: celebrate, remembrance, and fight back,” said Cables. “The fight back ceremony, where we try to get people to fight back against their cancer, is usually held right after midnight, but the weather will prevent any further activities tonight.”
Latricia Gardner, a Department of Leisure Services employee, was one of several who manned the “Whistle Stop Café” tent, selling fried green tomatoes, a specialty served up at the original Whistle Stop Café in Irondale, Alabama.
“Mayor Byard was the first one to try the tomatoes,” said Gardner. “We called him our guinea pig. Apparently he liked them because he kept coming back for more. Representative Gipson liked them, too,” she added.
Another group was there to raise money in memory of Jack Colson who passed away from cancer a little over a year ago. Colson’s wife Linda and daughter Heather were the team captains.
Wetumpka resident Debbie Whitehouse, a member of the Colson team, has been cancer free since 1990.
“It truly is a miracle,” she said. “I had to undergo experimental procedures at MD Anderson, a premiere cancer research hospital in Houston, Texas, every quarter for two years, but that was instrumental in my survival.”
“My mom, Dot Phelps, found out she had breast cancer this past October, but now she’s fine … doing great, and she’s eighty years old,” said Whitehouse.
Article by Melissa Parker
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