Mildred Strickland was diagnosed with cancer more than a quarter century ago.
And Friday night, at 91, she stood on the stage at the recreation department track during the 15th annual Madison County Relay for Life and talked about what it was like to be a survivor, and how grateful she and others like her are for the fundraising efforts of the Relay for Life.
Strickland was named honorary chair for this year’s Relay and presented with a plaque and a bouquet of flowers by co-chairman Ramona Booth.
Strickland, who has attended every one of the 15 county Relays, said she has enjoyed coming and being a part of this Madison County tradition.
“It’s a time to see old friends, and I’ve made new some new friends,” she said. “We’ve cried together, and we’ve laughed. It’s like a part of my family.”
She was escorted by her two daughters, Betty Sartain and Jean Ginn.
There were 12 teams at this year’s Relay – down slightly from years past, but those present made up for it in spirit and determination.
The evening was cool, but pleasant, and Booth noted it was a lot different from the cold and windy weather that held sway during the first Relay in 1999.
Boy Scout Troop 318 and Cub Scout Troop 377 served as honor guards during the opening ceremonies and Tommy Hall sang the national anthem.
Probate judge Cody Cross served as co-chair with Booth and he thanked the crowd for coming out to support the Relay.
There were numerous activities for children and many teams prepared food as part of their fundraising efforts.
As usual, hundreds of luminaries lined the track at the recreation department, waiting to be lit at sundown to honor survivors and to remember those who succumbed to the disease of cancer.