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Goliad Relay for Life on the Square on Friday night

LOURDES VAZQUEZ

By LOURDES VAZQUEZ
April 14, 2010 at 9:01 p.m.
Updated April 14, 2010 at 11:15 p.m.

Twice breast cancer survivor Debbie Heard speaks about overcoming cancer. "It's important to not let cancer rob you of your dignity," Heard said.

GOLIAD - Larry Austin was given six months to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

That was three years ago.

"If I felt any better, it'd be illegal," said the 72-year-old, who will be honored by the Goliad County Relay for Life on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Larry and his wife, Linda Austin, participated in the Relay for Life even before he was diagnosed. Saturday's relay will be their fifth.

"It will start with the survivors' lap," said Conny McKelvey, a cancer survivor, past honoree and treasurer for the Goliad County Relay for Life.

Participants of the Relay have raised more than $37,000 so far.

Money raised will fund research and programs in the area related to cancer.

Road to Recovery, one of many programs funded, helps area residents with transportation to and from cancer treatments.

"I've seen it first hand," said Deborah Heard, two-time breast cancer survivor and participant in Relay for Life.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988 and 2006, Heard is a passionate volunteer.

"They provide information, wigs, booklets," said Heard, who added that most of all there is support.

"I was so scared," said Linda of her husband's first chemotherapy, but found the support of the community to put her at ease.

The relay marks a moment in the lives of survivors, families and friends.

"You just don't know day to day," said McKelvey, of the possibility of cancer recurring .

The square will be lined with luminaria bought in memory of those who lost the cancer battle.

"We are survivors," said Heard, who walks in memory of a friend.

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