This year’s Relay for Life of Liberty was a memorable one for Julie Davidson, events chairwoman of the annual fundraising event to fight cancer, which was held June 25 at South Valley Middle School track in Liberty.
For the first time in her 19 years as a volunteer with Relay for Life, Davidson was also a survivor.
“It was a little more hard and more special,” Davidson said. “I was diagnosed with cancer in January. It was tough for me.”
Fortunately, Davidson had someone to lean on who also had been through breast cancer: Lori Ewing, another longtime Relay volunteer, and former event chairwoman.
“I ran to her immediately even before I told my family. It got me in the right space to talk to my family,” Davidson said.
Not only did the bond between the two become stronger at this shared experience, said Davidson, her understanding of being a cancer survivor became very personal.
“I always thought I was saying the right things to people. But now I’m on the other side; it changes and now you get a totally new perspective on how hard you need to fight for this. It was important to me before, but it’s different now.”
Relay for Life of Liberty has raised $35,000 and Davidson expects another $30,000 or so to come in before the end of August.
Next year’s Relay for Life will be held in combination with the Kearney Relay and Northland Relay.
“Last year we were right at $67,000. Every little bit helps. Anything we can do, even bring in 1,000, helps fund a service somewhere,” Davidson said.
About 265 survivors registered for the Relay. They were given the traditional purple T-shirts with “survivor” printed across the back, a meal provided by Olive Garden, free massages and lots of smiles and applause as they walked the survivor lap.
Twenty-eight teams from community organizations and businesses raised money and set up booths for Relay.