Relay for Life of Cherokee raises money, hope in fight against cancer

by Jul 30, 2012Front Page, NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

Nell Crowe, Julie Wilnoty and Lucille Wolfe lead off the Survivor’s Lap at the 2012 Relay for Life of Cherokee event held on Friday, July 27. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)





     Tears were shed.  Feet became sore.  Eyes grew tired.  But, no one’s spirit could be dampened as teams of walkers joined together for the Relay for Life of Cherokee event held Friday, July 27 at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds. 

     “If you think you’re alone, you’re not,” said Shawn Crowe, the event’s emcee who lost his father to cancer.  “Today, I want all of you survivors that are here and everybody that is here to know that you are not alone.”

     Crowe added that hope is the most important thing in fighting cancer.  “My dad never lost his faith the entire time he was sick.” 

     Fourteen teams raised over $18,000 at the event.  The Mighty Mighty Fighters team led the way with $1,703 raised followed by the Cancer Crushers $1,541 and the Native Honey Badgers $1,004.  Alissa Lambert was the top individual fundraiser at $381 followed by Autumn Long $146 and Jasmine Lambert $134. 

     “We’re all here for the same purpose,” said Principal Chief Michell Hicks.  “As we go through life, we never know what’s in front of us…but, continuing to be a strong person, a strong family and a strong community is how we deal with it.” 

     “I deal with a lot of situations, and some are easier than others, but I will tell you that cancer doesn’t discriminate; young, old, white, black, Native American…it doesn’t discriminate.” 

Event organizers Angie Volton (left) and Robin Swayney share a hug at the beginning of the walk.

     Dr. Jo Blaylock, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel vice president for human relations and external communications, said, “Unfortunately, we have all been affected by someone having cancer.  My dad passed away in 2001 from esophageal cancer.  His diagnosis and ensuing battle were not easy.” 

     She said the support from the community and the American Cancer Society helped her family get through the ordeal.  Harrah’s Cherokee has partnered with the American Cancer Society in western North Carolina for the past twelve years. 

     “We hope that one day cancer will be a disease of the past.”   

     Robin Swayney, event co-chair, thanked all of the volunteers for the event.  “We all worked very hard on this event, and thank you to everyone who came out to support Relay for Life of Cherokee.”

     The walk itself began with a Survivor’s Lap led by Nell Crowe, Julie Wilnoty and Lucille Wolfe.  That was followed by a lap honoring all caregivers, and then the walk started. 

     Teams walked well into the night. 

     For more photos from this event, please visit the One Feather photo gallery at: