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      Making strides in cancer research with Relay for Life

      People from all over southwest Georgia participated in Darton College's annual Relay for Life walk raising money for cancer research.

      White paper bags lined the grass at Darton College where hundreds of people came to participate in the event. Each bag represents someone who has been affected by cancer.

      "I'm doing this for my grandpa, Keith Walls," said Melanie Earley, who created Operation Cancer Awareness: Panther's Hope.

      Emily Martinez, another student from team OCA: Panther's Hope, also realizes the personal connection to the cause, saying "Mostly everybody that's in our group has or has had somebody in their family that's had cancer."

      "Brittany is a 27-year-old that just recently found out that she has breast cancer," said Melissa Goodin of team Supporting Brittany.

      Dozens of teams were present Friday night to walk and enjoy music, food and games while raising money. Despite their diverse reasons for participating, walkers all have a similar goal in mind: to raise awareness while honoring those who lost their fight with cancer.

      "Cancer is such an overarching issue within America, particularly within our area, so we just find that it is a very good cause for us to support as an organization," said Heather Combs of the Albany Area Primary Healthcare team.

      "We're here to support and help people understand that you need to get tested every year because that may save your life," said Deborah Frazier, a 12-year survivor of colon cancer.

      This year's theme was "The Colors of Relay" where each team chose a color to represent a certain type of cancer, from blue for colon cancer to pink for breast cancer and many others.

      The walk began at 6 P.M. and continued until 6 A.M. Saturday, raising over $100,000 dollars.

      To make your own contribution go to