Cancer survivors and caretakers honored

By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

April 21, 2014

STATE ROAD — With nearly two weeks before participants will step in the annual Relay for Life venue, cancer survivors were honored at a banquet on Thursday evening.

The Survivor Dinner is one of the major events leading up to the relay to benefit the American Cancer Society, which this year will be held on May 3, according to organizers. The relay will he held on the track at Elkin High School.

The Survivor Dinner was held at Cedarbrook Country Club.

Guest survivors and their caregivers were treated to lazagna, salad, and dessert. Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital provided the dinner, and the Ebenezer Heart Sisters donated the dessert.

The featured speaker was Melissa Hiatt of Mount Airy, a caregiver who described complexities and challenges that faced her daughter, Rachael Hiatt.

“She battled through it…It was a tough process. I have seen so many of her friends lost due to cancer,” said Hiatt.

Hiatt’s inspirational speech included a teary-eyed revelation on her daughter’s desire to help future cancer patients. “My daughter is 19 years old and today is in nursing school. She wants to help fight back. I am so proud of her,” she said.

After Hiatt’s speech, prizes and gift certificates were given out to attendees through a raffle.

“We gave away so many complimentary hotel stays for survivors,” said Michael Wilson, master of ceremonies for the event. Wilson is also the general manager of the Farifield Inn and Suites in Elkin. “The value of all the hotel gift certificates is about $4,000. All I had to do was ask neighboring hotels for help, and they all really stepped up for the survivors.”

The hotels providing rooms were the Hampton Inn, the Comfort Inn, the Marriott and others.

Some winners even scored a stay in the honeymoon suite at Elkin’s Fairfield Inn and Suites. “This is great. I get to have a second honeymoon, right at home,” stated a winner.

After the event, Jami Myers of the American Cancer Society said she believed the survivors are in good shape because they’re in remission. “Their quality of life is so improved. They faced cancer. Now they’re able to attend Relay and show the world that they stand in support of efforts.”

“We do it all for them,” said Amy Cothren, 2014 Relay for Life chairperson. “The dinner is to recognize the survivors and that they should know we appreciate everything they’ve been through. We’re here for them. We’re raising money for them.”

Shannon Stone, the 2014 Survivor chairperson, said its about coming together. “I think tonight went well…The survivors really enjoyed themselves and they left here with great prizes.”

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or follow on Twitter @newsgonz