Relay For Life Survivor's Dinner Held

Thursday, April 25, 2013
The 2013 Clay County Relay For Life honored survivors were introduced at Saturday's dinner at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Piggott. This year's honorees are, from left: Teresa Calhoun, Debbie Johnson and Sheila Taylor.

The Clay County Relay For Life held its annual Survivor's Dinner Saturday, April 20 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Piggott. The dinner serves to kick-off the annual fundraising effort, and introduce the honored survivors who will lead the symbolic first lap. This year's honored survivors are all Piggott area natives, and residents--Sheila Taylor, Debbie Johnson and Teresa Calhoun.

Teresa Calhoun, who lives between Pollard and McDougal, was just recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and began treatment. "I went through 12 treatments, and they were very concerned because it had already spread to my liver," the lifelong local resident explained. "But, the last scan was all clear. I think it just shows the power of prayer!"

Debbie Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer Nov. 29, 2012 and began treatment immediately. "I guess it was in October when they found the lump, and ordered an ultrasound," she explained. "After three rounds of treatment I'm cancer free. I did go through 33 radiation treatments, but I didn't have to have the chemotherapy. A year ago I never would have thought about something like this happening to me--there have been some trying times, but I have made it through with the help of my family, friends and a lot of prayers."

Johnson also took part in a special breast cancer awareness baseball game April 15 at Independence Park, and threw out the first pitch with another cancer survivor, Kristi Fuller. Johnson's son, Darrin, is an umpire and worked the contest between the Mohawks and Westside Warriors.

Sheila Taylor is also a local native and longtime Piggott resident. But, unlike the others her battle continues. "I was diagnosed in October 2011 with small cell carcinoma of the lung and began treatment about two weeks later at UAMS in Little Rock," she explained. "I'm still in treatment, what I have is treatable but not curable according to my doctor."

Taylor's battle with the disease has been a rigorous one, although the results have been promising. "Last summer I developed a tumor and it nearly killed me, but the last time I was tested there was just a little speck," she added.

Taylor, along with Johnson and Calhoun, will lead the ceremonial Survivor's Walk to kick-off the annual fundraiser.

This year's Relay For Life will feature a completely new format and schedule, and is being held Saturday, May 4, at the Piggott Community Center.

The day will begin early at 7 a.m., with an all-you-can-eat breakfast for $5 per person. Serving will continue until 10 a.m.

At 9 a.m. registration will get underway for a mini-car show, which is scheduled to continue until 5 p.m. Each entry will have a donation bucket on the seat and the vehicle garnering the most money will be crowned as the winner.

Registration for the Survivor's Walk will also get underway at 9 a.m. with the walk slated for 10:00.

Beginning at 10 a.m. RFL volunteers will also be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, baked beans and barbecued baked potatoes.

Throughout the day organizers have also planned games for the kids, and the silent auction will be in progress as well. The closing ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m.

"We want to encourage everyone to come out to the Relay and support the American Cancer Society," a spokesman noted. "The local committee would also like to extend our thanks to Jim Rogers and Judy Parker for a generation donation--and to Arkansas Bail Bonds for furnishing the barbecue, baked beans, buns and slaw for the Survivor's Dinner."

Those wanting more information on the Relay For Life may call 870 598-3457.

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