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By: Paige Taylor

Purple and white balloons filled the bright, clear sky on Friday night after being released from the triumphant hands of cancer survivors.

Relay for Life was an event where the community rejoiced with cancer survivors and remembered those that lost their difficult fight. Survivors proudly displayed their medals and paraded confidently through Grant County Park.

The event was not only for the survivors, but for the community that came together to arrange an incredible occasion.

Jennifer Carr, an employee at Wal-Mart, says that this is her third year attending the Relay for Life.

“I joined my team at Wal-Mart where we have a lot of associates that have been affected by cancer. We lost an associate, and friend, two years ago, which was hard to do because we had worked together for almost six years, and I think she would be really proud that we’re here,” Carr said.

While she does help her team raise plenty of money for the event, it is also something that Carr looks forward to for enjoyment.

“It’s also a really fun event, I like all of the activities that they plan and I think that it really pulls the community together. It’s something that I’m really proud to be a part of,” she said.

Sarah Mullins, a fifth grader at Mason Corinth Elementary, helped set up a booth with her family to donate to Relay for Life.

“Our booth is called, ‘A Cure Sure Would be Sweet’ and we have lots of different kinds of candy that we’re selling for a cure. We have been working on our booth for a couple weeks and our theme is for kids. I really like to come here to see and meet all of the survivors and I think it’s great that everyone comes here to help out,” Mullins said.

Sharon Beach joined her team, the Grant County Deposit Bank, a workplace that had been affected by cancer.

 “We have been doing this for six years now and we have several people at the bank, who are survivors, and we actually had one that did not make it and I think that’s the reason that everybody does it. Everyone knows someone who was affected by cancer,” Beach said.

Lynda Breeden, a member of Church 20/20 had been affected by cancer after a member of her family was diagnosed.

“I have been coming to Relay for Life for seven years. I started because my mom had breast cancer 11 years ago and it’s just something that’s really close to my heart. She’s here and she loves coming here each year to walk with all of the other survivors. It’s just amazing to see the people walk around for their survivor lap,” Breeden said.

Breeden also participated in Relay for Life by setting up a booth with her members of her church and family.

“At our booth we have games, food, we’re raffling baskets, a variety of things and every year we try to find something that’s just off the wall like this year we have the duck pond where kids can get Relay for Life prizes,” Breeden said.

It was an evening that brought together a community and filled hearts with hope and optimism. Rebecca Ailstock, a brain cancer survivor, said that Relay for Life gave her confidence in her battle with cancer and her fight for life.

“It’s great to come here and see the miracles that happen. This event is a huge encouragement whether you have cancer or you have the flu, it’s nice to know that someone else can relate to you and cares about your situation,” Ailstock said.

Grant County Relay for Life raised almost $90,000 nearing its $100,000 goal. If you didn’t get a chance to attend Relay for Life you can donate to the American Cancer Society at relayforlife.org.