More than 50 people of all ages make up three teams sponsored by West Point United Methodist Church.
Betsy Basehore, Michelle Moker and Betty Blevins will be members of the three teams representing West Point in Relay for Life, June 2- 3 at New Kent High School.
More than 50 people of all ages make up the teams, sponsored by West Point United Methodist Church.
Cancer in some way has touched the lives of all three women.
Pastor Betsy Basehore has endeared herself to the West Point community since she became minister of West Point United Methodist Church in July 2005.
In recent days, she has been very involved in organization of the local Relay for Life teams and is serving as a team captain.
She is doing this despite her own battle with cancer.
She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004. She is now facing reoccurrence of the disease.
In the April issue of the church newsletter, Basehore wrote that she was halfway through her chemotherapy treatments and was not tolerating the drugs as well as she had in 2004.
"I've had to cancel out on some things at the last minute and that has probably been the most frustrating part of this whole ordeal," she wrote.
Michele Moker is a team captain and a member of the committee for the New Kent Relay for Life.
In August 2003, her husband, Mark, was diagnosed with cancer.
He began treatment in October and completed that treatment in February 2004.
Although she had never been a runner before, Michele "started running during his treatment as a stress reliever." She joined a local running group, New Kent in Motion, that was just getting started.
"I challenged myself to run the Richmond Marathon that same year and accomplished that goal in November 2004 (just before my 40th birthday)," she says.
Now Mark Moker is a cancer survivor, and Michele Moker has remained active with New Kent in Motion. "In early 2006, the American Cancer Society contacted me and several other active members of the running group and asked if we would be willing to act as the committee for Relay for Life in New Kent," she says.
The group took on the challenge and raised $29,367 last year. They expect this year's event to be even more successful and have set a goal of $36,708 -- a 25 percent increase.
The Moker children, Chloe and Blain, second grade and kindergarten students at West Point Elementary School, were active participants in last year's Relay for Life and plan to be involved in this year's event. "They both also ran in last year's West Point Bridge opening one mile kids' running event," Michele Moker says.
When Betty Blevins moved to West Point in 1984, she was helping her husband, Ron, win his battle with cancer. Ron went on to serve as president of the King William Cancer Society for several years, and Betty was a member of the board in charge of activities and fundraising. For 161/2 years Betty has worked in oncology, first at MCV and, for the last nine years, at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital where she has served as team captain for the Essex County Relay for Life.
Blevins facilitates a cancer support group in Tappahannock. Members participated as a group in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Richmond on May 12. Some had husbands walking with them; others walked with their children.
She was scheduled to walk in Tappahannock for the Essex County Relay for Life on May 19 as well as with her West Point team on June 2-3 at New Kent High School.
Blevins knows from personal experience what it is like to fight cancer. She was diagnosed four years ago with breast cancer.
"It is very rewarding for me to be part of Relay for Life, not only as a survivor but as a fundraiser," she says.
She finds the luminaria ceremony especially rewarding. "The whole thing is very touching. There are a lot of tears we share together."
One of the Relay for Life fundraisers was held at the Methodist Church on Sunday, with a luncheon and chocolate-tasting. Other activities included making balloon animals, painting faces and a pie- throwing.
In addition to Basehore and Moker, Lisa Graham is also serving as a team captain. The three teams are named for the town's rivers: Mattaponi, Pamunkey and York. "We're trying to invite the whole community," Moker says. "We want to raise the awareness of cancer research."
For Basehore, the love and support she has received from the West Point community have touched her heart.
"I have loved West Point and this church and all of you since the first moment I set foot on this little triangle of land between the rivers," she wrote to her congregation. "That love continues to grow as our lives continue to become more and more intertwined."
Basehore, Moker, Blevins and all the other dedicated volunteers are showing a great deal of love and caring as they work to make local Relay for Life fundraising events a big success. *
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