Hope abounds at Morrow County Relay For Life event


By Anthony Conchel - The Sentinel



Caregiver Teresa Burson escorts cancer survivor Estell Stahl during Relay For Life Friday at Gilead Friends Church. Stahl, a 20-year cancer survivor, is Burson’s great aunt.


Local cancer survivors take the first lap Friday night at Morrow County Relay For Life.


Purple was the main color Friday night at Relay For Life among survivors, caregivers, family member and even vendors.


Teresa Burson calls her great aunt “a very courageous and Godly woman.”

Burson escorted 88-year-old Estell Stahl during opening ceremonies at the Morrow County Relay For Life Friday night.

Stahl is a 20-year cancer survivor, and Burson serves as her caregiver. “It’s very special to be able to take care of her,” Burson said.

The theme at the Gilead Friends Church camp site was Be The Hope, with personal stories of hope and faith being shared.

Kathy Wellman talked about losing loved ones to cancer.

“If you’re here, cancer’s probably touched your life one way or another. It has touched mine,” Wellman said.

She spoke about her mother-in-law whom she lost in 2004 to breast cancer, and of her own battle with multiple myeloma.

“I was fortunate to have a bone marrow transplant. We have to keep fighting and go on,” Wellman said.

Thanks to research, there are a growing number of survivors, like Kathy, said Relay For Life team member and organizer Connie Mattingly.

Survivors and caregivers were honored guests at their annual dinner.

The Morrow Family Health Center had a team and Jess Snyder was happy to help out.

“My grandmother passed away from stage four breast cancer four years ago,” Snyder said. “It’s scary.”

“This is about community and health. It is very near and dear to our hearts and it’s amazing to see a community come together,” she said.

“This is a great cause. We have patients fighting cancer and we do what we can to help,” said Jessica Morgan, Snyder’s co-worker.

A couple hundred residents took part in the event, including one who came from Florida.

Mary Sparks is a 21-year survivor and a former Sunbury resident.

“I made it. I guess I’m the tough one,” joked Sparks. “I’m 86.”

Sparks was accompanied by her caregiver, Carol Reed.

Mattingly told the crowd that the battle goes on.

“We are all here to make a difference in the fight against cancer. We hope for a cure in the future and hope that cure is very soon,” she said.

Money raised goes toward research efforts by The American Cancer Society.

“I know that one day no one in Morrow County will ever hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’” Mattingly said.

She thanked sponsors and Gilead Friends Church, which hosted the event for the third year.

Caregiver Teresa Burson escorts cancer survivor Estell Stahl during Relay For Life Friday at Gilead Friends Church. Stahl, a 20-year cancer survivor, is Burson’s great aunt.
http://morrowcountysentinel.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/08/web1_secondaryart.jpgCaregiver Teresa Burson escorts cancer survivor Estell Stahl during Relay For Life Friday at Gilead Friends Church. Stahl, a 20-year cancer survivor, is Burson’s great aunt.

Local cancer survivors take the first lap Friday night at Morrow County Relay For Life.
http://morrowcountysentinel.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/08/web1_mainart.jpgLocal cancer survivors take the first lap Friday night at Morrow County Relay For Life.

Purple was the main color Friday night at Relay For Life among survivors, caregivers, family member and even vendors.
http://morrowcountysentinel.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/08/web1_artforjumppg.jpgPurple was the main color Friday night at Relay For Life among survivors, caregivers, family member and even vendors.

By Anthony Conchel

The Sentinel