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Survivors, loved ones find hope in Relay for Life

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By Sarah Bennett

After several years of remission, Glendale resident Ann Rogers’ breast cancer returned last year.

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This time, it’s terminal, she said, and though it would be easy to stay in bed, she sat in a lawn chair Friday night in Central Hardin High School’s gym with a survivor medal and purple Relay for Life shirt.

“It just gives you an idea you’re not the only one going through it,” Rogers said about Relay.

Forty-eight teams signed up to participate Friday in Elizabethtown’s Relay for Life, co-chairwoman Carla D’Alessio said, and more than 1,200 Luminaria bags were purchased in memory of a friend or loved one.

According to D’Alessio, this year’s team count was the highest in the four years she has co-chaired the event.

“They show up here because (cancer) has touched so many lives, regardless of the age,” she said. “They support their survivors.”

Traditionally, Relay participants set up around the Central Hardin track, but this year’s rainy forecast sent team members indoors, D’Alessio said.

As of Friday night, she said the Elizabethtown Relay had raised more than $100,000. This year’s goal was around $150,000, and D’Alessio said she was confident the fundraiser would reach that mark.

Two-year survivor Lisa Kibler of Elizabethtown was diagnosed in 2010 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While she was receiving treatment, Kibler said her coworkers put together the team PISA 4 LISA and participated in the Lymphoma Society Walk in Louisville.

Standing in front of the same black banner her coworkers crafted three years ago, Kibler said she cried when she first saw it and they have continued to participate under the team name PISA 4 LISA ever since.

The PISA, she said, stands for “pray, inspire, support and admire.”

Participating in relay is about supporting all those who have been touched by cancer, Kibler said, whether it’s a survivor or someone who has lost a loved one.

Rogers chooses to participate in Relay, she said, not only for herself but for her 16-year-old daughter.

“Just to see that people survive,” Rogers said, “that there’s hope.”

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.