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A world with more birthdays
Relay for Life kicks off
4 Relay for Life pic2
Linda Williams shares her story of cancer survival during last week’s Relay for Life Kick Off. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Cancer survivors and those affected by the disease joined at city hall Jan. 28 to kick off the American Cancer Society’s 2010 Relay for Life Dawson County, an annual drive that raises research dollars.


At the 14th annual ceremony, Relay for Life organizers talked about last year’s numbers, discussed plans for 2010 and honored members for their efforts.


Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, shared her story of cancer survival before a crowd of nearly 100.


Williams was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2002. She has since undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and continues to fight the disease.


“I always went to the doctor with the attitude of, ‘Hey, I’m going into battle, and this chemo is my ammunition,’” Williams said.


She spoke words of encouragement for those with cancer. “Take part in the decision-making process,” she said. “Get interested in reading and talking to professionals to get everything you can find. Educate yourself.”


Suzanne Hendricks, community manager with the American Cancer Society of Dawson County, thanked Williams for her testimony.


“We really do appreciate her being here,” Hendricks said, followed by applause.


Hendricks addressed the crowd: “I know by your presence here tonight that you all share my passion for hope in the fight against cancer,”


She went on to explain the kick off’s theme for 2010. “As you can see from looking around the room, our theme this year is celebrating birthdays,” she said.


“At the American Cancer Society, we believe a world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays,” Hendricks said.


She then announced the 2010 honorary chairpersons, which included Dawson County High School Junior Tori Overmyer and Robinson Elementary School first grader Chayton Williamson.


Relay for Life Event Chair John Cronan later announced stats from the 2009 Relay for Life, which included 19 teams, 222 participants and 135 survivors.


The organization raised $50,727.


Cronan said the 2010 goal is $53,000.


Relay for Life is scheduled for May 21-22 at Dawson County High School. A Luminaria Ceremony will be held on May 21.


Organizers of the Luminaria Ceremony will have a computer presentation with the names and pictures of those honored or remembered.


For more information about the event, visit, call the American Cancer Society at (770) 297-1176, ext. 23, or e-mail


Those interested may also register online at to receive information about Relay for Life events.