Hundreds of Effingham County residents gathered at Effingham County High School’s track Friday night, settling in for a night of fighting — against cancer.
Veterans and newcomers to the event alike took part in the Relay For Life, one of the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraisers to help battle cancer. And the theme — “Re ‘Lei’ For Life” — added to the festive atmosphere.
“It’s a wonderful experience to see all the people who support you or want to help,” said Cindy Grovenstein, a cancer survivor since 1998.
Grovenstein, her mother, Emmie Lindsey, and her sister, Harriet Snooks, are all cancer survivors.
“It takes a team effort to get through cancer,” Grovenstein said.
James Gleaton came to Relay for the first time, and he can attest to what Grovenstein said. He was diagnosed with liver cancer just before Father’s Day 2009.
Doctors found a tumor “the size of a golf ball,” he said.
His case required him to travel to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and staying in motels as his treatment took place.
“Going back and forth to Atlanta has been tough,” Gleaton said.
So was telling his family of his diagnosis.
“It was really rough when I had to tell my children,” Gleaton said. “My son in the Marine Corps had to find out over the phone. It was pretty rough on all of them. We got through it.”
He is also appreciative of the support he’s gotten from his employer, Savannah engineering firm Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung.
“I was worried about my job,” Gleaton said. “They’ve been supportive. They told me to do whatever I needed. They told me to get treated and your job will be here. That took a load off me.”
And Gleaton found out Friday night that there are plenty of others who share his experiences and are ready to help.
“It means a lot,” Gleaton said.