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Relay celebrates courage and commitment for cancer research

| May 13, 2019

Sheri Shaw prepares to cut the ribbon to officially open the 2019 Coshocton County Relay for Life on Friday evening, May 10 at the fairgrounds. Shaw was the featured speaker at the opening ceremonies. The event, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, was held May 10-11 at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds. Mark Fortune | Beacon

COSHOCTON – The 25th annual Relay for Life opened at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds under cloudy skies on Friday, May 10 at 6 p.m. with this year’s theme, “Game Over, Cancer”. Amber Goddard, chairperson, welcomed the 21 teams to Relay.

“I started with Relay 13 years ago when my 16-year-old sister was diagnosed,” said Goddard. “We created a team and then lost her in 2016. Since then, I worked my way up from team captain and now I’m in my third year as chairperson.”

The National Anthem was performed by Jacy Collins and Emily Goddard and Chris Cutshall gave the opening prayer.

Amber announced that fundraising for this year’s Relay began in September 2018 and that $60,000 was the goal for this year. Teams had been busy fundraising since then and many teams had fundraisers available at their location along the track.

Tracy Barnhouse, community development manager with the American Cancer Society, recognized special teams that were a part of this year’s Relay. Two long-time teams, Fresno Bible Church and Keene United Methodist Church were honored.

Fresno Bible Church has been a Relay team since at least 2011. They were handing out New Testament books for anyone who requested one.

“We walk for our survivors and to honor the ones who have gone before us,” said Linda Burr, team captain. “We also walk to glorify God. That’s the biggest reason.”

Keene United Methodist Church has been a Relay team for 24 years.

“If you just look on the track when you see the survivors walking, it’s heart wrenching,” said Sue Adams, team captain. “If $1 can help find that cure, it’s all worth it.”

Keene United Methodist Church was holding a quilt fundraiser during Relay. In addition, they also had pancake breakfasts throughout the year, and donated money to Relay through their Apple Butter Stir, held yard sales, sub sales, and had a luncheon on Memorial Day at Keene.

Team Mudrich was also recognized. They have only been involved with Relay for at least three years, but have really shown amazing growth.

Sheri Shaw, honorary ribbon cutter, said a few words before the ribbon was cut and Relay officially opened.

“We’re all here for a reason and that reason is to find hope that one day, we will find a cure for this,” said Shaw.

Syntax Error, a musical group from Ridgewood High School directed by Haley Evans, performed while caregivers and survivors were invited to walk the track in opposite directions and meet in the middle. The two groups then walked together through an archway in an emotional ceremony filled with hugs, laughter, and a few tears.

“Survivors need to know they are not alone,” said Amber. “They need to know that just because we don’t know them doesn’t mean we don’t love and support them.”

The last survivor to go through the arch was Christine Cornish who is a three-time cancer survivor.

“I was scared at first because I didn’t know what to do or anything because I’m not from around here,” said Cornish.

However, she said it was a good experience.

“I started crying because I never expected to survive,” said Cornish.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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