To the theme of Scare Away Cancer 2014, the American Cancer Society sponsored a local event in Greene County, Tennessee on June 13 to 14, 2014. Located at Greeneville Middle School, hundreds gathered at the 2014 Relay for Life. This is an all-night event that began at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon and will continue until 6 a.m. the following day for those brave souls who have the tenacity to stick it out.
The highlight of this event is the 7 p.m. Survivor’s Lap. All the cancer survivors gather on the track. The caregivers and supporters gather on the edges to clap as they walk one time around the track. They walk in gratitude for surviving cancer. They walk in memory of those who lost their fight to cancer. They walk in the hopes that one day there will be a final cure for cancer.
This walk was followed by the Caregivers and Survivors Lap at 7:30 p.m.
You will notice that all the Cancer Survivors are wearing purple tee-shirts given to them as part of the “care package” they receive each year at this event. Purple is a color that represents all forms of cancer.
At this walk, the author, Debbie, donned a fuchsia-colored wig. This wig belonged to Brenda Jenkins, who lost her fight to cancer on the 24th of December, 2011. Brenda was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Due to her sense of humor, her strong spirit, her loving family and friends, and her medical team that included Dr. Dharmen Patel, oncologist extraordinaire, she lived many months beyond her original prognosis.
While going through chemo treatments, Brenda lost most of her hair. She was determined to make light of this event. So, instead of wearing a traditional-type wig, she purchased and wore bright-colored wigs that were sure to attract attention and to bring a smile of wonder to many people’s faces. She alternately wore a turquoise wig, a cotton candy pink wig, a bright firehouse red wig with lime green sprigs in honor of Christmas, and the fuchsia wig that was the author’s favorite. When her hair finally grew back, she often dyed her hair purple or pink. She was determined to live her life to the fullest, facing most days with a smile, a mischievous twinkle in the eye, and a hearty laugh.
The author, Debbie, is a 4 ½-year breast cancer survivor and thriver. She is fully in remission aka cancer-free. She joined Brenda’s husband, Larry Jenkins to walk the survivor’s lap. They carried Brenda’s picture during this walk.
During the Survivor and Caregivers Lap, the author and Larry were joined by Brenda’s best friend, Dale Johnson. Dale wore Brenda’s turquoise wig.
Included in the video are pictures of their oncologist, Dr.Dharmen Patel and his nurse practitioner, Sheila, of Greeneville, Tennessee. You will also see pictures of some of their friends from the cancer support group held at Laughlin Hospital in Greeneville.
Also included in the video was Miss Greater Greeneville, Sarah Stokely, singing “Let It Go” from the Disney “Frozen” movie. There is also a small section at the end of the video where you see a beautiful song about being grateful sung by the group called “Hands of Friendship.”
This video and article was posted in memory of Brenda Jenkins and in celebration and in honor of all other cancer survivors out there plus those who have lost their fight to cancer.
- YouTube video link: Still walking in honor of Brenda Jenkins at the 2014 Greene Co TN Relay for Life
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