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Soldiers, relay participants fight cancer
0516 MIL relay for life
3rd Infantry Division Rear Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen wishes the relayers well on behalf of the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart. - photo by Photo provided.
Cancer survivors, family members, volunteers, community members and soldiers gathered Friday night to celebrate the victories thus far in overcoming cancer, remember those taken by the disease and raise money to further research a cure.
The 188th Infantry Brigade, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, provided manpower and equipment to support the annual Liberty County Relay for Life at the track behind the National Guard Armory in Hinesville.
Area cancer survivors took to the track at 7 p.m. to begin the relay with a survivor’s lap, followed by the caregivers and teams from the community, who had been raising money for the cause all year. During the relay, people took turns walking around the track throughout the night to signify that cancer never rests.
“As a members of the local community, as well as the global community, I feel it is important for us to be active in supporting events that push toward curing afflictions that impact the lives of our families and friends both here and abroad,” said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander.
Before the start of the relay, 3rd Infantry Division Rear Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen and Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas wished the relayers well and thanked them for their efforts to help find a cure for cancer. Fort Stewart Fire Chief James Ashdown also told the crowd about a special guest. Carolyn, a Pink Heals fire truck named for Carolyn Stevens, who helped to establish Riceboro’s Relay for Life chapter, was parked near the track for relay attendees to check out.
Event chairwoman, Merilee Cox, who started participating in Relay for Life seven years ago after losing her mother to cancer, said this year’s theme is birthdays. “A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays,” she said.
The relay began as an effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society in Tacoma, Wash., more than 20 years ago when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, walked and ran around the track at a stadium for 24 hours.
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