Romans wrapped up a weekend campaign to combat cancer with the ninth annual Cast Off Against Cancer Sunday. The weekend started with the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Ridge Ferry Park.
The event is hosted by the Cancer Navigators, a community-based nonprofit organization set up in 2006 to assist individuals and families impacted by cancer to better understand the realities of a diagnosis and care, at no charge.
As many as four in ten northwest Georgia cancer patients suffer financial strains because of the cost of treatment and Cancer Navigators was created to help provide basic resources, from transportation to daily food to those who are impacted by cancer.
Gladys Mixon is a two-time cancer survivor, suffering the first bout with the diseases 28 years ago and most recently eight years ago.
She remembers being scared to death the first time she was diagnosed. “The “C” word will scare you to death. When I was diagnose with breast cancer eight years ago I was terrified , terrified of how I was going to pay my bills more than whether or not I was going to live,” Mixon said. “They find resources for you.”
She has volunteered with Cancer Navigators for five years. “When I was diagnosed eight years ago someone referred me to them and they did a lot to help me,” Mixon said. “It is such a wonder, one of-a-kind organization.”
Carol Waddell is a five year survivor of bilateral breast cancer. “It’s really, really important for me to be here today,” Waddell said. “I pray this makes somebody’s cancer journey a whole lot easier and I just want to give back for people who have done for me.”
Last year, Cancer Navigators provided help to more than 1,700 patients and their loved ones, offering well over $2 million in assistance along the way.
The event drew participation from 11 organized teams representing communities and businesses from across the mid-Coosa Valley. A team from Polk County raffled out a gift basket with more than $1,200 worth of goodies donated by businesses from Rockmart and Cedartown, including more than $500 in gift card.
Cancer Navigators Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator Sarah Husser said that as of 3 p.m. Sunday the event had raised $56,328, with the possibility of some additional funds trickling in.
The Floyd Medical Center Medical Oncology team called the “Tumornators” raised the most money, $15,007. Clean Air America won the Team Spirit Trophy and the Polk Medical Center Hippie Healer received the Best Decorated Oar Award.
All of the funds generated by the event stay within the community to continue with assistance to cancer patients and their families.