Survivors Participate in Annual Relay for Life

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JACKSON, Tenn. – Rain on Friday was not enough to dampen the spirits or stop the celebration of cancer survivors and their supporter at the Relay for Life of Madison County. Hundreds gathered at the Jackson Fairgrounds Park inside the pavilion for celebration that continues into Saturday morning. The fight against cancer is the common thread that binds those who participate in Relay for Life, but really it is a celebration of birthdays. The American Cancer Society pledges to create more birthdays by helping those diagnoses with the disease beat it. Elizabeth Johnson is one of the many cancer survivors who made the walk around the track amid cheers. The survivors’ walk always begins the Relay for Life festivities. Johnson is a teacher at Pope Elementary School in north Jackson. She has taught kindergartners there for the past 32 years. For a year of that time, she battled and beat breast cancer. “The doctor said, ‘Your biopsy came back and you have breast cancer. What do you want to do?” I said I just want to live,” recalled Johnson. Johnson underwent surgery and months of chemotherapy. It took her hair but never kept her completely from the classroom. “I wanted my children to know that I was going to be there for them,” she said. At this end of this school year, Johnson will retire from teaching, but said she will never stop celebrating her success, and those of others, in surviving one very tough disease. “That’s why Relay for Life is so important,” Johnson stated. “It helps people understand that you can beat this and to have that good attitude.” Most importantly she wants everyone going through cancer or any other struggle to remember, there is always hope. Funds raised through Relay for Life support the free services provided by the American Cancer Society for cancer patients, which include rides to treatments and housing during treatment. Monies raised also support cancer research. To learn more about the efforts of the American Cancer Society visit Eleven years ago, Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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