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Cancer survivors honored at Relay event
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Over 150 cancer survivors, caretakers, Relay committee members, and friends gathered to celebrate the true meaning of survival at the April 19 Survivor Dinner Celebration, one of the most popular activities for Relay for Life of Dawson County.

This years Relay recognized all employees of the Dawson County Board of Education as honorary chairs. Dawson County High School donated its commons area to accommodate the event, and the schools kitchen was used by Kroger chefs to prepare and serve the dinner.

The Survivor Dinner is to honor those who have survived cancer and the people that care for them, said Roger Slaton, coordinator of the celebration, who went on to say the dinner not only recognizes cancer survivors and their journeys to survival, but it also gives special recognition to the caretakers who support them through the process.

I am honored to be part of the dinner and this is something to give back to our community, he concluded.

The celebration took off with a presentation of colors by the Dawson County High School (DCHS), Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Chance Passmore, a ninth-grader in the DCHS Chamber Singers performed a rendition of the National Anthem.

After an evening of entertainment provided by the DCHS Chamber Singers, a wonderful dinner donated and prepared by Kroger chefs, and homemade desserts made by Relay supporters, participants listened to guest speakers, Pam Thompson and Robin Chapman as they shared their personal journeys of survival.

The celebration concluded with presentations of medallions to survivors and caretakers. Lanier Technical College (LTC) donated the medallions. They are custom made by students of LTC in a machine shop owned by a former LTC student.

He allows us to come in and make these at no charge, said Tim McDonald, Dawson Campus Dean at LTC. Its a great thing for us to recognize the survivors for one more year and its something we hope to continue for a long time.

Lanier Technical College students have been designing the medallions for the past three years, each one engraved with the current year. Several survivors were present to receive their third medallion, each marking another year of being cancer free. The recipients will also wear the medallions, as they walk the Survivors Lap at Dawsons Relay for Life event.

As survivors and caretakers received their medallions from Relay Dawson committee members, many hugs were exchanged and tears were shed. Participants consider the event to be humbling and something that brings our community together to display the thoughtfulness, encouragement and friendships that Dawson County residents have for one another.

I love the Survivor Dinner, said Margaret Bowen, coordinator of the celebration. This is a real personal gathering for all of the people who support Relay and it is my favorite part of the entire event.