Survivors cheered: Relay ‘brunch’ held Friday

Published 5:47 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

About 30 cancer survivors and their guests attended the Washington Parish Relay for Life Cancer Survivors’ Brunch on Friday, and there was jubilance in the air.

Cheryl Bieser had breast cancer in December of 2008. She said she had to have a mastectomy and that her chemotherapy ended in April of 2009. But she is a survivor.

“I’m doing good,” Bieser said. “I went to the oncologist Tuesday. He said everything looks good.”

Sue and Ray Winstead were sitting a few tables over, celebrating as well. Ray survived throat cancer in 2013, and Sue survived a liver transplant the following year.

“We’ve been through a lot together,” Sue said. “But we’re both fine now.”

Toni Seal was one of the youngest in attendance. During a routine check-up in 2009, her doctor found that she had thyroid cancer.

“I was 28 years old with a 2-year-old at home,” Seal said. “But it was at a time in my life that I had re-dedicated myself to the Lord. God used my worst fear, cancer, to change my life. To God goes the glory.”

The survivors’ brunch is regularly sponsored by Northshore EMS.

The cancer survivors will take the first lap of the Relay for Life at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Goodyear Park in Bogalusa. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. They will be followed by a Cancer Caregivers lap.

The Washington Parish Relay for Life will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. at the park.

Michelle Goode, who has been in charge of the local Relay for well more than a decade, encourages everybody to come out to the American Cancer Society event and celebrate the survivors and to memorialize those who were victims.

“Some teams are doing raffles, and they’ll be jambalaya, sweets and burgers,” she said. “There’s lots of things for kids to do — face painting, a gaming truck, bounce houses, and hula hoop contests. There will be music, and people will be singing. And cooking teams will be at it all day.”

Goode said the Luminary Ceremony, a particularly heartfelt celebration of life and of lives lost, would begin at 9:30 p.m.

“All the money raised at the Relay will go to fight cancer,” she noted.

Our Lady of the Angels Hospital and Professional Emergency Medicine Management sponsor the Washington Parish Relay for Life.