Quitman, Miss. The grounds of Archusa Water Park were quickly transformed into the Wild West for Clarke County's annual Relay for Life. Although one of the smaller Relay for Life's in the State, Clarke County packs a punch as being in the Top 20 per Capita in Mississippi. Last year, Clarke County raised over $82,000 for the American Cancer Society, and this year the county increased its goal to almost $90,000, Although a huge feat for a small community, the care everyone has for each other in the county is what brings people together to raise the money.
"We're in a small town and a small community and communities always come together and that's what makes it special," said Event Co-Chair Gay Lynn Joyner. "People in this community when you're down, they're going to come together and help you out. It's just a community feel and a closer knit family is what it all boils down to."
Through the many games, food, and entertainment provided, many people came out to "Saddle Up for a Cure" to help fight cancer. With more than 500 luminaries placed in memory or in honor of someone who had cancer, the event can get emotional as people embrace the hope and fighting spirit of those who fought cancer.
"We have 32 torches this year that have been bought and during that ceremony we ask anyone who is a family member or a relative of that person to stand by that torch," said Event Co-Chair Verylnn Robinson. "It's a really special time."
One cancer survivor says it's a blessing to see so many people attend Relay for Life and provide hope for others.
"Just extremely humbling because it shows how much they care that they sacrificed their weekend and their time and finances just to bless someone to be able to be treated and hopefully be healed from cancer," said Honorary Chairman Suzanne Raley who is also a survivor.
With all money raised being spent locally and nationally for cancer research, the hope is still there for those who battle cancer.