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Relay for Life celebrates cancer survivors
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Relay for Life Emcee Roger Slaton congratulates Aline McClure, who is a 54-year cancer survivor. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Holding on to a walker, Peggy Jenkins slowly made her way to the front of the crowd Thursday night to claim her "survivor" medallion.

She had surgery on her leg just two days before, but that wasn't going to stop her from attending the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life Survivor dinner celebration at Dawson County High School with her sister Fleasha Gomez.

While the siblings celebrated their winning battle with the disease, they also remembered their two other sisters that had not been as fortunate.

"We've both had cancer and survived, but we lost two other sisters to cancer," Jenkins said.

The women were introduced to Relay for Life, the society's signature fundraiser that supports cancer research, by one of their sisters.

"We would go and walk with her at Relay," Jenkins said. "To be able to keep going and doing the Relay and these people being so kind to keep this going, it's just wonderful. It just means a lot to us that we can still go to Relay."

Dawson County Relay for Life is scheduled for 11 a.m.-11 p.m. April 25 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

The event, which features activities, food and fun for the entire family, gives cancer survivors and supporters a chance to unite as a community to honor survivors, raise awareness of reducing cancer risks and collect funds to help the American Cancer Society.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 21 teams featuring 157 volunteer participants have raised more than $21,000 toward the county's $40,000 goal for 2015.

"For those of us who have been touched by cancer one way or another, we have a unique way of looking at birthdays," said Brooke Van Buskirk, with the American Cancer Society. "For me, turning 30 meant I get to spend another year with my family and friends, another year filled with more laughter, more tears, more joy and more memories with my loved ones."