In the end, the nearly 300 in attendance at George West Stadium on May 2 still managed to raise more than $56,000 for the cause.
There were many stalwarts present—not the least of whom was little Jenna Skoruppa, 2, who started the first survivor lap at this year’s event. All cancer survivors present take that first lap, which is a celebration of their winning the battle against the disease. As survivors run, they are cheered on by the other participants there.
The foster child of Tracy Arnold and Mark Skoruppa of George West, Jenna was placed in their home on Dec. 5, 2011—seemingly healthy, except for a cough that would not go away, according to a statement issued by Foster In Texas, otherwise known as FIT.
In January 2012, it was discovered through blood tests that Jenna had SCID, or Severe Combined Immunodeficiency disease, and would need a bone marrow transplant. She received one in March 2012 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Her immune system has been compromised —to the point where germs and infection can cause very serious complications to her health. Among other measures taken, Jenna’s home had to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to prevent germs.
Jenna has suffered continuous medical complications and has been in and out of the hospital. SCID is a disorder that Jenna will have to deal with for the rest of her life.
Her health history led to Jenna and her foster parents becoming involved with Relay For Life.
This Live Oak County-McMullen County Relay For Life event attracted 268 participants, making up a total of 17 teams. In all, the grand total of monies raised totaled at $56,074.02.
“It was a little down in comparison to the year before, when we raised over $80,000 and had close to 400 people participate,” explained Charlesty Burchfield, chair of the local Relay For Life event. “There were quite a few people, and this year was a noticeable decrease in attendance.”
All in all, it was an excellent day, she said.
There was even an… interesting… moment or two when cancer survivor Jim McGee came out decked out in drag as the 2014 “Miss-ter Relay,” otherwise known as “Miss Demeanor.”
These events also recognize and celebrate those “caregivers” who offer support to those facing cancer.
The top participants, according to the Relay For Life web page, included:
• Elizabeth Ham — $665.39.
• Susan Shleelar — $641.12
• Aaron Sheelar — $591.12
The top teams that made the effort possible (also according to the web page) were:
• Valero Refinery — $20,061.01.
• Cancer Kicking Cheerleaders — $5,526.97.
• Southern Twisted Cancer Kickers — $4,746.64.
Charlesty Burchfield, meanwhile, said she is looking ahead to next year’s event, which she hopes will be in Three Rivers.
“We need to keep people involved—because the more who participate the closer we can get to finding a cure,” she said. “One day I want my great-grandkids to never even have to know what cancer ever was. That is my main goal for doing Relay For Life.”