Assistant News Editor
Troy University’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer raised $15,645 at Relay for Life last Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Colleges Against Cancer’s goal was to raise $19,500.
Taking place in more than 20 countries, Relay for Life is a signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
The fundraisers are meant to support cancer survivors, raise money for future cancer research and to celebrate the lives lost from battles with cancer.
Jennifer Moore, a senior elementary education major from Warrior and president of Colleges Against Cancer, said she believes Relay for Life was a success since the group came so close to its initial goal.
“I don’t want to compare this year to other relays,” she said. “Each year has a different event and its own definition of good or success.”
Moore said she thought Relay for Life went smoothly and that it seemed that everyone had a great time at the event.
This year’s Relay for Life impacted 16-year-old cancer survivor Anna Williams from Grady. Williams has chronic myeloid leukemia, which has no known cure.
“I was just a normal girl at school playing basketball at the age of 13 when I watched my dad have a stroke right before my eyes on Jan. 16, 2011,” Williams said.
She said watching her dad have a stroke was the scariest thing she’s ever seen.
Just 11 days later, Williams was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I didn’t know what to think or do,” Williams said.
At first when the symptoms came up, Williams said she didn’t think anything of it, because she felt as if that kind of severe illness would not be a part of her life.
“We got to the hospital around 3 p.m. (Jan. 27, 2011), and they put me in a waiting room,” Williams said. “Around 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m., this lady comes in and tells me ‘Anna, something is wrong with you, but we aren’t sure what it is yet.’ 5 p.m. rolls around, and the same lady comes to my room and says ‘Anna, you have leukemia.’”
Williams said she remembers sitting straight up in her hospital bed, then looking at her mother before laying back in the bed and letting it all hit her.
“There were so many thoughts running through my head,” Williams said. “How long would I be here, when am I going to lose my hair…she (William’s mother) got us and held me and said ‘do you believe in God?’ I said ‘yes ma’am,’ she said ‘do you believe He has taken care of us this far?’ I said ‘yes ma’am,’ she said ‘why would He leave us now?’ She said ‘He is going to be with you every step of the way, and I am too’.”
That next day Williams had a bone marrow aspiration, where she was put to sleep and a small amount of tissue in liquid form was removed from her hip bone for examination.
“Cancer is such a strong word,” Williams said. “People never think it will happen to them, but it happens everyday. Cancer has changed my life daily, but I keep going. There are days where I want to give up and say ‘why me,’ but I am so much stronger than that.
“I do not feel sorry for myself, all we have to do is look around us and see that our lives are not has bad as some others have it. I will not give up, until there is a cure and I’ve beat cancer for good.”
Williams said Saturday’s Relay for Life was the first one she had ever been to and said she had a great time.
She said telling her story has already helped her cope with it better. She said she felt like all the fraternities and sororities were her friends and appreciated that they were out there helping her with a big struggle in her life.
“It felt like I was there with my big family,” Williams said. “They all made me feel like a stronger person.”