Relay For Life – a time to remember loved ones and continue to fight cancer

| May 15, 2017

COSHOCTON – This was Darlene Copenhaver’s first Relay For Life without her husband Clint who battled cancer for five years.

“He was a fighter,” Darlene said. “This would have been our sixth Relay together. His sister and I are still going to go on and honor him.”

She and her sister-in-law Tracey Copenhaver Thomas were a two man team that took part in the Relay For Life opening ceremonies Friday evening, May 12 at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds.

Clint passed away on Jan. 30, 2017 and fought cancer that first appeared on his neck and tongue.

“Cancer ended up making us stronger in our love and our faith,” Darlene said. “In June we would have been married 22 years, but were together 23. He gave me strength and I feel I gave him strength.”

During the opening ceremonies, Pastor Chris Cutshall prayed for those who are still in the fight against cancer and for all those taking part in Relay and working to completely eradicate cancer. He also prayed for the survivors and their caregivers who took the first lap at Relay.

“God I pray you give courage, hope, help and health to these cancer victims and their caregivers,” Cutshall said.

Amber Goddard, who is part of the Relay leadership team, welcomed everyone who attended the opening ceremonies.

“Look around you at all your family, friends, co-workers…..who are all here for the same reason – to put an end to cancer,” she said. “This 18 hour event symbolizes a day in the life of someone fighting cancer – a disease that never sleeps.”

Right before the ribbon was cut and the event officially began, American Cancer Society Staff Partner Tracy Barnhouse took a moment to thank the honorary ribbon cutter Jim Eckelberry, a four time cancer survivor who was first diagnosed 60 years ago.

“You have been an amazing supporter, teammate and friend to all of us,” Barnhouse said to Eckelberry. “Thank you for all you have done and will do for Coshocton County Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.”

Barnhouse also honored Keene United Methodist Church’s team, which was nominated for a special award after last year’s Relay.

“Every year they donate time and food to help us with our survivors’ dinner and they’ve been doing that for many years,” she said. “Thank you for the support you give our community and all your team does.”

Eckelberry was flattered to be asked to cut the ribbon.

“It’s an honor,” he said after cutting the ribbon and getting the Relay started.

The theme for this year’s Relay For Life was, “Saving the World One Cure at a Time” and several Team Teddy members dressed for the occasion in superhero shirts and tutus.

“It’s a fun theme,” said Team Teddy member Stefani Bush, who is also part of the event leadership team. “I think it got kids involved and made it more family oriented.”

Her teammate Lauren Cunningham agreed with her.

“I love this theme,” she said.

Thirty-five teams participated in the 2017 Relay For Life and they have until Aug. 31 to continue fundraising for this year.





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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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