Brandy Williams, Raye Mayhorn, Deretha Carter and C.C. Harris paid tribute to Ava Marie Nunnley, who lost her battle with cancer, at Saturday’s Relay for Life kickoff event.

Nunnley died in April 2010 after battling bone cancer. Her sister, Mayhorn, said events like the Relay for Life kickoff are a way for the family to carry on her memory.

“This is our way of honoring our sister, it has a lot of personal meaning for us,” Mayhorn said. “So many people are affected by cancer. When it hits you, you realize how close we all really are and how one disease can really affect so many people.”

The local chapter of the American Cancer Society raised the bar this year with its largest Relay for Life kickoff yet, said Misti Field, event chairwoman.

Field said this year, the committee really wanted to “kick it up a notch” in hopes of getting more people involved and educating the public about the benefits available through the American Cancer Society.

“Being a cancer survivor myself, there are so many people who don’t know about the benefits of the American Cancer Society,” she said. “I think the more people who we can reach out to, the more the services will be beneficial.”

The event featured all-you-can-eat chili as more than a dozen people battled it out in a chili cook-off. The event also had door prizes, a disc jokey, a silent auction and more than 30 vendors.

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised at the event go to the American Cancer Society.

Kim Dortelus said the kickoff is the first Relay for Life event she attended.

“A friend who is a cancer survivor invited me to come out and I thought that it would be a good event to come out to,” she said. “It’s really nice.”

Kathy Wallace and Keith Quilhot also attended the event for the first time after hearing about it from friends.

“It’s a really neat event, we really like it,” Wallace said. The Relay for Life walk is May 3 at Shoemaker High School.

To register, go to | 254-501-7555

Contact Natalie Stewart at or 254-501-7555

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.