Relay for Life breaks new records

By Staff
SURVIVORS WALK  Doris Close and Joyce Jarman cheer on cancer survivors as they make their lap around the track at Meridian High School's Ray Stadium. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
June 9, 2001
Huge gray clouds hanging over Meridian High School's Ray Stadium and the threat of rain didn't stop Meridian and Lauderdale County residents from turning out in droves Friday for Mississippi's "biggest and best" Relay for Life Cancer Walk.
As 206 cancer survivors more than ever for Lauderdale County lined up for the Survivors Walk, Robbie Hales sang a song written by a woman with breast cancer.
As the survivors came around the corner and completed the lap, some faces were lined with determination. Some sported wide grins as their owners waved and winked to friends and family at the side of the track. Other survivors completed the lap with trembling lips and tears.
Dorothy Black was undergoing radiation therapy in Meridian, so she found an apartment and moved here from Ackerman.
Juanice Fountain also lives in Meridian. She is a six-year breast cancer survivor.
This is her fourth year to complete the Survivors Walk. She said completing that lap is "exciting, because every day you are alive is a good one."
Volunteer Chairman Betty Lou Jones said teams for this year's walk have raised $300,000 so far for the American Cancer Society.
Last year's Relay saw 105 teams raise more than $312,500.
Charlotte Hines, regional vice president for Relay for Life, said Meridian's turnout this year marks the largest in the six-state Mid-South Division.
She added that the "money is nice" and it's the point but Meridian and Lauderdale County residents also come together to "understand their own cancer burden" and to overcome it.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at