“Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back” was the message at the Relay for Life Survivor Dinner on Wednesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
The annual event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, brought cancer survivors, caregivers and their families together for a night of sharing and hope.
“It’s to celebrate life,” said Survivor Committee Chairman Dick Chapin. “I’m a 10-year cancer survivor myself so this is a birthday for all of us. It’s another year of celebration of being alive.”
More than 150 people came out to support one another, including survivor Sharon Davis, who said the dinner is meaningful because it allows those who cannot do the Relay for Life walk, “feel special for a night.”
Committee members, clad in orange American Cancer Society T-shirts, greeted guests as vocalist Myka Allen Johnson serenaded the crowd with blues and jazz-inspired melodies.
Johnson said her father’s battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia prompted her to join the cause.
“I know the time will come when he will struggle with it, and that is something that definitely weighed heavily on my heart when I made the decision to help,” she said.
The meal was catered by Big Hoss BBQ. Co-owner Sheryl Brown, a three-time cancer survivor, has provided meals for the event for free for three consecutive years. First diagnosed with the disease 30 years ago, Brown’s last treatment was in 1996. She is now cancer-free, she said.
“I look forward to the success stories because they are always uplifting. It helps everybody and it’s an awesome time to give back to others,” Brown said.
Guest speaker was breast cancer survivor Jody Delgado, the 2013 Hero of Hope for the American Cancer Society.
“The best piece of advice I can give is to share your story and don’t give up hope,” Delgado said.