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Relayers celebrate life, remember victims

Relayers celebrate life, remember victims

June 10th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Michelle Haden, a 12-year survivor of breast cancer, was among multiple survivors attending the Relay for Life event Friday night in Fulton.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

Survivors, cloggers, tractor pullers and locals gathered Friday night to celebrate Carnival for a Cause.

The Relay for Life of Callaway County drew an impressive and supportive crowd, according to event organizers. Funds raised will go toward researching cancer cures.

"It's an awesome organization," said Michelle Haden, a 12-year survivor of stage four breast cancer. "If you find a local group in your area, they can help you in more ways than you can guess."

Haden moved back to Fulton last year after an 11-year sojourn in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For 10 years before her diagnosis, she'd been plagued with symptoms but was unable to access medical care.

"I finally got to a state that would accept me," she said.

After finally receiving a biopsy, she was diagnosed within three days. A lumpectomy and double-mastectomy later, she was finally free of cancer.

Having a healthy support system helped her make it through the ordeal.

"I loved all my doctors," Haden said. "They helped me through everything."

Her sister-in-law became her caregiver, and she also connected with a counselor. A medial advocate told Haden about Relay for Life, where she found fellow survivors.

"I was the youngest in the area to go through the stage and type of cancer I did," Haden said.

She participated in Relay that year, and has continued to do so ever since.

"It gives me something to look forward to," she said. "It keeps me going."

This year, Relay for Life took place in Memorial Park — a highly visible location that helped drive participation up. Attendees were drawn by food trucks, carnival games, Mule Kicker Clogging, a Car and Bike Show and other attractions. Later in the night, attendees enjoyed a glow party at the splash pad and took part in karaoke.

The event also included the State Qualifier Kiddie Tractor Pull.

Faith Miller, age 7, was eager to compete. She's been pedalling tractors since she was 1, according to her mom.

"You get stronger," Miller said of why she enjoys participating in tractor pull.

Last year, she placed sixth of 22 competitors in her division at the national competition in South Dakota.

She had this advice to offer on her winning technique: "You have to put your head side-to-side while you do it."