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2008 Relay for Life: Cancer survivors celebrate life

Pearl River County’s cancer survivors gathered at Jack Reed park to celebrate their second lease on life and remember those who fell to cancer.

A survivor celebration took place at Picayune’s First Baptist Church before the survivors headed across the street to the park for fun and festivities.

Anna Faye Davis was one of the survivors at the events Friday afternoon. She first learned she had colon cancer when she had a recurring pain looked at by her doctor in 1985. She was diagnosed and an operation took place. She is now a survivor.

“So I kind of feel like God wasn’t done with me yet,” Davis said. “It hadn’t gotten into my lymph nodes, that’s when my blessing came.”

Unfortunately her husband was not as fortunate. Davis said she lost her husband in August to prostate cancer. He died on their 51st anniversary.

“It’s just real important that people get checked out and if you have a pain you don’t need to ignore it,” Davis said.

One of the youngest survivors was also there to celebrate her continued lease on life. Pearl River Central senior, soon to be graduate, Brooklyn Fitzgerald said she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May of 2003. In October Fitzgerald plans to celebrate being in remission for five years, she said.

Fitzgerald had to undergo more than one surgery to get where she is now. Four rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy ensured the 17 year-old will attend her prom and graduation this month. After high school she plans to attend Pearl River Community College where she will begin her continued education. After PRCC she said she is considering applying to LSU, but that may change. Her plans are to become a forensic scientist.

Her advice to those who discover they have cancer is simple.

“Always have a positive attitude, no matter what, and you’ll get through it,” Fitzgerald said.

When Fitzgerald was diagnosed at the age of nine, her family was extremely concerned, especially when she lost her eye sight and the doctors did not expect her to live, said Fitzgerald’s grandmother Sharon Guepet. Today Fitzgerald can see.

Guepet is also a cancer survivor. She survived five bouts with Melanoma cancer, all were removed successfully.

Other survivors showed up to take the Relay for Life laps that celebrate life and the fight against cancer. The oldest survivor was Miriam Van-Scoter, the youngest was Josh Guidry, the longest survivor was Freda Cooley, and the most recent survivor was Ronnie Rodriquez.