The 12th Annual Cooper County Survivor Dinner was held Tuesday, April 17, at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville. It was a free, non-fundraising event for cancer survivors and their caregivers.
Jessica Ellison welcomed everyone and led the group in the Relay for Life Pledge: “I confirm that we are here to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, to support those fighting cancer, and to remember those we have lost. Our commitment will be symbolized in every step we take, each and every step … Moving us nearer to our goal, the goal of a cancer-free world for future generations.”
Vanda Rice was the survivor/caregiver speaker for the evening. An eight-year survivor, she said, “Care giving is so important. I wouldn’t have made it without my caregiver.”
“Surviving is a daily thing,” she added. “Every day I get up and thank God, and thank Him for allowing me the opportunity to pay it forward.”
Rev. Mel Eaton returned thanks, blessing the survivors, the caregivers, and the hands who had prepared the evening and the meal.
During the meal, entertainment was provided by the New Franklin High School Choir. One song, “I Choose Love,” was especially appropriate. “In the mist of pain, I choose love.”
Closing remarks were made by Jessica Ellison along with thanks to the following businesses and people who donated time and items to help make the event possible: Relay for Life Event Leadership Team and Team Captains, American Cancer Society, MFA/Oil Breaktime, offenders from the Boonville Correctional Center Restorative Justice Program, and a special thanks to the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville for the donation of their banquet room, soup, drinks, and desserts. She also thanked the hotel staff for serving the meal.
To finish off the evening, each guest had been given a raffle ticket when they signed in. Numbers were drawn until all the lovely gifts were distributed.