A relay for a cure

Theresa Whatley makes her mark on the 2017 Survivor Wall of Hope at the SCV Relay for Life in Central Park on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

Tracy Roberts was proud to put her hand print on the 2017 Survivor Wall of Hope at Relay for Life on Saturday.

“I’ve had cancer twice,” she said. “I need to mark it. I want to make my experience permanent, that I’ve made it.”

Roberts was originally diagnosed with ovarian and appendix cancer, and has had multiple battles with the disease.

“Twenty years ago, I probably would have died from this cancer,” Roberts said. “But putting your hand on this wall, saying that you’ve survived, that you’ve fought, that you’ll continue to fight, it’s everything.”

Bella DePaco and Cadence Walters walk the track on their fifth hour of laps during the SCV Relay for Life in Central Park. Samie Gebers/The Signal

Roberts’ hand print joined the dozens of other prints on the survivor wall, and felt that the disease has made herself and many others stronger.

American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life brought survivors, family members, friends, community members and people struggling with cancer together to raise money for the non profit.

“This makes you feel like you are doing something, you are fighting back against a disease,” said Teresa Kerr, a chair member of the event.

Over 90 fundraising teams participated in the relay. Multiple booths were set up by team members to raise money and awareness to support a cure for cancer.

“We have teams camped out around the track,” Kerr said. “The idea is to have someone from each team walking around the track for 24 hours. That represents the fact that cancer never sleeps.”

Theresa Whatley, a three-year tonsil cancer survivor, raised over 20,000 dollars on a five-person team.

“We all know what it takes through to go through the disease,” Whatley said after she made her mark on the survivor wall.

“This is the best thing anyone can do for cancer.”

Over 5,000 people participated in the relay, luminaria ceremony and through donations.

From left to right, Melissa Rea and Ellen Rea walk for their team, Cookie for the Cure at the SCV Relay for Life on Saturday. Their group was inspired by their grandmother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Samie Gebers/The Signal

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