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Local celebrities serve up cancer-fighting event

A number of people from around the county, each with a story of how cancer has personally affected their lives, Thursday evening packed the Huntsville Event Center for the Logan County Relay For Life’s Celebrity Server Night.

Relay-Honorary-Chair

DEB MOON WHITSETT

The servers for the evening were 14 local “celebrities,” ranging from elected officials to police officers, teachers and business owners, who also collected tips during the evening to benefit Relay For Life.

The event replaces the Taste of Logan County event that was previously hosted during the spring.

The theme for the dinner was Decades and celebrity servers donned costumes that ranged from 1970s disco dancers and hippies to Roaring 1920s flapper girls.

“This is a good time for a good cause,” said celebrity server and Indian Lake Schools teacher Jill Young. She also serves as a Relay captain for her school.

“It helps us to remember those who we’ve lost and to cheer behind those who are going through treatment.”

Throughout the evening, some of the attendees shared their personal experiences of fighting the formidable foe of cancer, including this year’s honorary co-chair Deb Moon Whitsett, who faced treatment for breast cancer last year.

During a self-exam, Mrs. Moon Whitsett discovered a lump in one of her breasts, which then led to a barrage of doctors’ appointments and eventually radiation therapy.

Throughout each phase of the treatment, there were many distractions that she needed to turn away from so that she could focus on overcoming cancer.

“I needed to tune out all of the white noise,” she said. “You have a lot of fears going through this, including dealing with the fears that you know your family has for you.

“You have to rise above that fear.”

Mrs. Moon Whitsett attended the 2012 Relay For Life in the midst of her treatment, and said she was overwhelmed by all of those who personally supported her from the community.

“At last year’s Relay, I broke down,” she said, wiping away a few tears. “It was the most amazing sight that I’d ever seen. All of those balloons and lanterns were for me.”

She encouraged anyone dealing with the unknown fears of cancer to keep faith, hope and love alive in their lives.

“Never let those candles go out.”

Relay-Roaring-20s

ABOVE: Indian Lake Schools teacher Jill Young, standing, entertains a table of her fellow teachers, also in Roaring 1920s attire as a celebrity server. FRONT PAGE: Elvis, played by Jim Donnelly, surveys a table of desserts in his role as a celebrity server. EXAMINER PHOTOS| MANDY LOEHR

At this year’s Relay, Mrs. Moon Whitsett leads the ceremonial first lap with fellow honorary co-chair Denver Dixon. The event is slated for 6 p.m. Friday, June 14, to noon Saturday, June 15, at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

Tara Wagner also has been named this year’s honorary caregiver.

The 2013 Relay marks the 15th year for the event in Logan County, and co-chair Amy Brown said a total of about $2 million has been raised to benefit cancer research as a result of all of the Relay teams’ efforts.

To raise additional funds, those at the Celebrity Server fundraiser paid $80 for an eight-person table. They also had to pay their server a tip for any other items they needed, from chairs to silverware, cups or even a refill of their drinks.

Other celebrity servers included Christina Barns, Dustin Wickersham, Carrie Reynolds, Brenda Moots, Jim Donnelly, Tammy Gump, Jim Reed, Terri Schneider, Nancy Harmon, Dwight Salyer, Kristy Daniels, Tammy Overholser and Michael Horn.

An auction of a number of gift baskets donated by Relay teams and area businesses also followed the dinner.

The next Relay For Life informational meeting is slated for 5:30 p.m. May 7 at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

 

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