Survivors recognized at annual breakfast

Betty Ray was among the cancer survivors to receive a gift at the conclusion of Thursday's Chilton County Relay For Life Survivors' Breakfast at Clanton First Baptist Church.

Betty Ray was among the cancer survivors to receive a gift at the conclusion of Thursday’s Chilton County Relay For Life Survivors’ Breakfast at Clanton First Baptist Church.

Geene Ann Mullins and Malissia and Abby Loucks shared their personal stories of both loss and inspiration related to cancer.

The audience Thursday at Clanton First Baptist could certainly relate.

Mullins and the Loucks, a mother and daughter, were the speakers at the 2014 Chilton County Relay For Life Survivors’ Breakfast.

Local Relay Chairwoman Courtney Brock welcomed those in attendance.

“You’re a testament to what we’re doing and why we’re here,” Brock said.

The first Miss Relay For Life Pageant winners were introduced, and then the Rev. Jim Shannon of Lime Springs United Methodist Church offered a prayer before Lacey Ellison and Chloe Haggard sang a song that included the lyrics, “No one said this would ever be easy…carry on.”

Inspirational stories: Geene Ann Mullins, Malissia Loucks and Abby Loucks were the speakers at Thursday’s Chilton County Relay For Life Survivors’ Breakfast at Clanton First Baptist Church.

Inspirational stories: Geene Ann Mullins, Malissia Loucks and Abby Loucks were the speakers at Thursday’s Chilton County Relay For Life Survivors’ Breakfast at Clanton First Baptist Church.

Five-year-old Dori Lawrence was recognized for raising the $300 or so necessary to hold the Survivors’ Breakfast. Lawrence also raised about $1,200 for the team she captains, by making Easter bunny door hangers and other crafts out of wooden pallets.

“She’s always coming up with something,” Lawrence’s mother, Brandi, said. “She is a very hard worker.”

Brandi Lawrence said her and Dori’s motivation for participating in Relay is the memory of Brandi’s father.

“We want to help everybody,” Brandi said.

Mullins, the event chairwoman for Autauga County Relay For Life, talked about losing her aunt and her young daughter to cancer, and then having her father and husband diagnosed with cancer.

Mullins said she and her husband vowed to remain positive—and continue supporting Relay For Life.

“We’re going to Relay,” Mullins remembers saying after her husband’s diagnosis. “It’s another reason to Relay.

“We’ve lost so many loved ones. I can’t lose any more.”

Malissia Loucks told the story of her daughter, Abby, being born with esophageal complications. After doctors thought Abby would be hospitalized for the first year of her life, she was able to go home in less than two weeks.

However, Abby was diagnosed with cancer.

“I suffered two or three of the darkest days of my life,” Malissia recalled. “I didn’t know how to feel.”

But Abby’s presence was an inspiration for those at the breakfast.

“She’s in regular classes at school, and she’s excelling and she’s happy,” her mother said. “Cancer is not a death sentence anymore. That’s what we do: We fight.”

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