Bulloch County cancer survivors and their supporters enjoyed dinner and a show Thursday evening as characters from Disney’s Magic Kingdom greeted guests at Statesboro’s First Baptist Church Perry Fellowship Hall.
The event was a kickoff to the upcoming 2018 Bulloch County Relay for Life to be held Friday, April 27, at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds, as well as a tribute to cancer survivors and their supporters.
This year’s Relay features a Disney “Wish Upon a Cure” theme, and the room was filled with princesses in ball gowns, a Tinkerbell fairy and many volunteers with the Statesboro Service League wearing Mickey Mouse ears. The Statesboro Service League hosted and served the meal.
Inspirational entertainment also came in the form of breast cancer survivor Jill Johns encouraging the crowd to participate in “laughing yoga.” Emphasizing the importance of laughter as a healthy way to deal with the stress of having cancer, she had everyone giggling as they waved their hands over their heads, chanted silly phrases and walked around their tables as if their shoes were tied together.
Sharing her experience with the disease, the young mother recalled saying “I don’t have time for breast cancer.”
She said she wasn’t going to let it beat her, so “I started laughing.” Laughter releases endorphins and energizes the body and has many health benefits, she said.
After piano music by Robert Cottle, 2018 Bulloch County Relay for Life co-chairman Chris Wiggins spoke, followed by a poem and inspirational words from Statesboro’s first lady, Adrianne McCollar, wife of Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar.
Lori Wiggins, also a 2018 Bulloch County Relay for Life co-chairman, spoke about her own ordeal with Barrett’s Esophagus, a precancerous condition that caused her to temporarily lose her voice and have trouble breathing and caused her esophagus to almost become separated from her stomach.
Then, she was diagnosed with skin cancer as well. Wiggins spoke of her faith and determination as she endured multiple surgeries and challenges in her battle against cancer.
But others have had a worse time, and some don’t survive, she said.
“What I have to deal with isn’t as bad as what a lot of you have to deal with,” she told the crowd.
The evening ended with several door prizes given, donated by local sponsors.
To join and participate in the relay, interested parties may sign up at a meeting March 8 at 6 p.m. at Sea Island Bank, 2 East Main St.For more information about the 2018 Bulloch County Relay for Life, contact Bailey Semkuley at email@example.com.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.