Relay for Life celebrates lives of cancer survivors

“You’re never prepared to hear those words.”

When Doug Finn was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago, he had been preparing to attend Relay for Life to support a family friend who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Finn, who coaches varsity hockey at Dexter High School, said the support he received from Relay and it’s network of survivors┬áprovided invaluable support.

Dexter Relay for Life officially raised $34,802.93 as of the last official count earlier this week. For more stories about this year’s relay, click here.

“I realized quickly I can’t fight this by myself,” he said.

Each year the Relay for Life of Dexter kicks off it’s annual fundraising walk with a survivor’s lap – offering a chance for those with cancer, survivors, their families and their caregivers to celebrate life and hope.

Relay for Life organizer Holly Kipfmiller stressed the importance of the network of family and friends who have had their lives effected by cancer.

“These faces are proof that cancer can be defeated,” she said.

The survivor’s lap, Kipfmiller said, represents the “ultimate source of hope.”

“You have an army of support here and all over the world,” she said to those walking in the lap.

Watch the survivor’s lap kick off during the 2015 Relay for Life.

Talking about your diagnosis and connecting with others who have had a similar experience helps those who might be having a difficult time, Finn added.

“I encourage everyone to share their stories,” he said. “They need to know people can succeed and beat cancer. I’m very happy to be saying I beat this.”

Finn said the money raised by Relay for Life is sorely needed to help fund important research to find a cure.

“This money is needed,” he said. “You need the best and the brightest working on this.”

This year the event raised $34,000 – more than the group’s goal of $30,000.

Take a look at photos from the survivor’s lap and opening ceremony.

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