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Dinner kicks-off Relay for Life

AHOSKIE – One could certainly forgive Bob Davis for having a lump in his throat. It’s hard to speak when so full of emotion….ditto when affected by throat cancer.

Davis, a cancer survivor from Currituck County, was the featured speaker here Saturday when the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life hosted a Survivors Dinner at the Roanoke-Chowan Shrine Club.

The annual event is a prelude to the Relay for Life event, set for this Friday and Saturday (6 p.m. until 3 p.m.) at Squirrel Park on the campus of Chowan College. For a complete listing of all Relay activities and other important information, please see the special edition inserted inside today’s edition.

Making his first speaking engagement following several medical procedures to attack tonsil cancer, Davis faired extremely well in front of a large gathering.

&uot;I’m happy to be here,&uot; Davis began. &uot;I guess for that matter, I’m just happy to be anywhere.&uot;

Davis went on to inform his audience that tonsil cancer is extremely rare – only three-tenth’s of one percent of all cancers diagnosed are of this variety.

&uot;What do you say to a room full of cancer survivors,&uot; Davis asked. &uot;I guess the first thing to say is congratulations.&uot;

However, in his eyes, survival is just one part of the puzzle.

&uot;This is a personal battle, one that I will fight and win,&uot; he said.

After his diagnosis, Davis asked to be put in touch with a cancer survivor. That led him to Murfreesboro businessman Ray Felton, a Gates County native who has been extremely active in local Relay for Life events as well as a local cancer ambassador for the area at the state and national levels.

&uot;Ray gave me the best advice a patient can get – you can live with cancer and there is life after cancer; just remember to live and enjoy each and every day,&uot; Davis recalled of his first meeting with Felton.

Davis found strength in Felton’s words, just as he did in the word of God.

&uot;Upon my diagnosis, I was thrown into a world of statistics,&uot; Davis noted. &uot;Then anger set in, but I got through that with the love of the Lord and having a positive attitude and surrounding myself with people that believed I could beat this.&uot;

Knowing all too well that he was &uot;preaching to the choir,&uot; Davis still urged everyone to support Relay for Life.

&uot;That event, just like the Lord, gives you the strength to carry on,&uot; he closed.

Karen Odom and Sheryl Knowles hosted the Survivor Dinner. Margaret Brittenham blessed the meal and Ginny Cowper entertained the crowd with a beautiful rendition of &uot;Wings Beneath My Wings.&uot; Artie Johnson gave the closing remarks, including a Power Point slide show of photos taken at the 2004 Hertford-Gates Relay for Life.

Several awards were given – Thamer Eure (oldest survivor), Christy Vinson (youngest survivor) and Alice Faye Lassiter (longest survivor).