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Relay for life, and hope

South Boston News
SoVaNow.com / May 07, 2014
Those in the community touched by cancer found common ground to rally — and walk — in the fight against the disease, as Clarksville hosted the 2014 Relay for Life this weekend at Robbins Park.

The Relay walk and rally, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, was a poignant affair for many — whether they’ve lost a loved one to cancer, or have survived a diagnosis.

Honorary co-chair for this year’s Clarksville Relay was Heather Ann Tucker, a Bluestone student who is battling a deadly form of brain cancer. Among the highlights of the Relay was a reading of Heather Ann’s letters chronicling her experiences and struggles. Her sister, Hannah Rose Tucker, read two of the letters aloud to a rapt audience.

Heather Ann wrote that she has chosen to meet the news that she had cancer with hope and a positive attitude, not with sorrow or fear.

“You never know what plan God has for you,” Heather Ann wrote, adding that she has no time for anger or hurt, and had it not been for her cancer, she would not have had the opportunity to meet so many kind, loving and supportive people.

She also shared through her letter an important life lesson — to live each day to its fullest. Her mother, Trish Tucker, said this lesson was learned by her daughter, in part, from the Winnie the Pooh stories they read together when Heather Ann was a child.

Before listening to inspirational songs by the Clarksville Baptist Church Praise Band, Trish shared words of wisdom she gleaned from Winnie the Pooh: “If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together ... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart ... I’ll always be with you.”

The Relay event took place throughout the day Saturday, starting with a luau brunch to honor cancer survivors and ending with the traditional lighting of the luminaries as darkness fell.

As Relay for Life co-chair Julie Ames called for the lighting of the luminaries, Richard Courage asked those in attendance to slow down and reflect on the lives of those whose battle with cancer has ended — as well as those who continue to fight this disease.

There was a moment of silence followed by Taps, played by Zachary McKinney, before the program ended with an inspirational dance performed to “Morning Has Broken.”

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