Jackson County residents honored survivors, caregivers, and those who lost the battle against cancer at the 2019 Relay for Life conducted recently at Washington’s Riverfront Park in Ravenswood.
The event is hosted each year by the American Cancer Society with support from the local community. Sponsors include Suddenlink by Altice, Constellium, Kiddy Korner Child Care, City National Bank, Wesbanco, Ravenswood Federal Credit Union, Clinton Horn Chem Inspections, LLC, and Garnette Plumley.
Denise Toler of Jackson General Hospital served a master of ceremonies. Recent Ravenswood High School graduate Noah Freeman performed The Star Spangled Banner and Jeff Moales of Praise Cathedral gave the invocation.
This year’s grand marshal was Freda McVay, who kicked off the survivor lap. The survivors’ dinner was sponsored by Jackson General Hospital.
The Ripley Royalettes and Top Notch Twirlers performed energetic routines, and Dewey Taylor kicked off the evening’s musical entertainment. Taylor was recognized for supporting the cause for over 25 years.
This was followed by a performance by The River Rats.
In addition to raising funds for cancer research, the centerpiece of Relay for Life is the luminaria ceremony conducted at dusk.
“The luminaria ceremony is an opportunity for us to come together and remember why we are here at relay,” said
The caregiver speaker was Tosha Morris, mother of 4-year-old Gavin Morris, who ended his battle with cancer on March 10, 2014.
Morris recalled the day she and her husband learned their son had cancer.
“So many decisions had to be made that day. He was treated as quickly as possible, and our journey began. Now that I look back, that was not the worst day of my life. Rather, it was the day I learned to treasure each and every moment, good or bad,” she said.
The true worst day came two years later when Morris’ son passed away. Looking back, she realized the importance of cherishing each moment.
“The time in between was the most incredible journey and the biggest blessing I have ever experienced in my life,” she said.
Larry Neeley and Get Shorty and Riptown Riot closed out the evening with more musical entertainment.