Faces of Hope: Relay for Life

By: Colleen Donovan   Bio | Email | Twitter

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Every spring, cancer survivors and patients, along with their family members and friends, participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

The event raises money for cancer patient support services and research.

Ramona Harrell is a leukemia cancer survivor and co-chair of Petal's Relay for Life.

"Well for me it just means a lot to know that there are people out there working," said Harrell. "Ten to 15 years ago, my life expectancy would have been about three years with my leukemia, and the research is so important."

Harrell went on to say a drug she takes now is one of the newest on the market and without the research dollars Relay for Life brings in, "people like me wouldn't be alive."

Harrell has been a survivor for nearly four years. She said her health is great, but she still takes a targeted oral chemotherapy medication.

Seminary resident Doug Knight survived a brain tumor.

"I started getting numbness in my fingers, my left hand it started up my arm, they thought I had carpal tunnel syndrome," said Knight.

Further tests showed he had a brain tumor. After multiple surgeries and medical treatments, Knight says he's not completely cancer free because of the kind of tumor he had; however, recent tests indicate no negative changes.

Knight talked about his survival, "It's been two-and-a-half years I think he gave me six months to live," Knight said of his doctor, "but it has been two-and-a-half years, and I'm still going."

At Covington County's recent Relay for Life, Knight walked around the track as a survivor.

"It's a good feeling to walk around that track and everybody cheering for you - pretty amazing."