By Nick Nunn staff writer

“We are fighting back!” said Beth Bradley, chair for the 2014 Morgan County Relay for Life during the opening ceremony last Friday, May 9, at the DuPree Track and Field. Thanks to Morgan County’s 2014 Relay for Life, themed “Life is Sweeter Without Cancer,” the American Cancer Society will be able to fight back against cancer with an additional $34,000. Despite threatening clouds last Friday evening, a solid crowd of cancer survivors and supporters turned out to the DuPree track for the survivor’s dinner and the opening ceremony. Bradley praised the “very good turnout” during a speech to begin the celebration. “The reason I do this is because I’m a cancer survivor,” said Bradley, who recounted her experiences with cancer and the experimental treatments that she received while battling against the disease. Bradley restated to the crowd assembled that the purpose of the Relay for Life is to “celebrate those who we have lost and who are going through this.”

The crowd was also reminded that cancer can be treated most effectively when it is caught early, and they were encouraged to undergo regular cancer screenings. The Morgan County JROTC presented the United States and Georgia flags during the singing of the national anthem, and Madison Mayor Fred Perriman took the stage to deliver a brief message to survivors. “How many of you believe that our God is still a healer?” asked Perriman to begin his speech. “As we become One Madison and One Morgan, we become One Cancer Survivor,” continued Perriman. “We come in love, we come in peace, and we come in Harmony. “Madison supports the Relay 100 percent,” said Perriman. “We come because we love each other. It is making a difference.” “Don’t let cancer get you down.

Our God still has power, and he is still in control of everything.” After the opening messages, cancer survivors and their support groups were invited to take the celebratory first lap around the track together to mark the beginning of the relay itself. As the sun began to go down, the bags bordering the track, which bear the names of remembered cancer victims, were illuminated to show support of those who have suffered. Bradley said that many of the teams stayed throughout the night, and that they were fortunate enough to have no overnight rain. The funds raised by the event were still being tallied Monday, and Bradley indicated that the amount of $34,000 in donations will likely go higher before the totals come in. She again noted the importance of the funds raised by all Relay for Life events. “Everything you give goes to great things,” said Bradley. “It goes to something very important.”