Pirate-themed Highlands Relay looks to give cancer the heave-ho

Derry mum of two who lost husband to cancer taking part in Relay for Life to show kids there can be life after the disease

This year, 13 teams from across Lee County have worked toward the goal of raising at least $90,000. "The first relay we came to right after I finished my treatment, it was really incredible to see all these people here committing and dedicated to creating a future without cancer". Introduced to the event in Kearney while still attending Hastings College in 2002, she said the relay serves as an eye opener to the community emphasizing just how widespread cancer is and how many lives it touches each year.

At dusk, the Luminaria Ceremony took place with each light representing a life taken by cancer, a survivor of cancer, or a person still fighting the disease.

With the current relay event just finished, Docherty said preparations for next year's Relay for Life are already underway, with a new committee in the making.

Today, Brown seems to draw strength from her work with Relay, saying: "What keeps me going is the people on the committees working together all year long, planning and working toward this one event".

The "Pirates of the Cure-ibbean" instead spent the day searching for a different kind of buried treasure - donations to fund cancer research so the disease can finally "Walk the Plank". A year later, she was diagnosed with appendix cancer, which she beat.

According to the Relay For Life website, "Survivors and Caregivers are the heart and soul of Relay For Life events". It was when she told the story about why her daughter wanted to start a team for the relay two years ago.

"She asked me to shave her head".

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In the team event, participants take turns walking around a track or designated path for 6 to 24 hours.

The five-year cancer survival rate has almost tripled since the 1940s.

Brownlee helped her Grandma with all aspects of life from maintenance of the house to taking her to Chemotherapy, as she wasn't able to do it on her own.

Another perennial crowd pleaser, Nick Wilkins (aka Broadway the Clown), was on hand with a juggling act he took from the crowd right onto the track, where he participated as a cancer survivor.

"I hope there's a cure found in my lifetime", she said.

22News was a proud sponsor of Saturday's event. "Hopefully, we can help change the future".

"My life just turned upside down at that moment", she said. "But, we got out the razor and did it together", said Brownlee.

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