The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life DeKalb County Survivor Dinner was held Tuesday night at the First Methodist Church Life Center in Fort Payne.
Each year, the Relay for Life Committee in DeKalb County holds a dinner specifically for cancer survivors and caregivers prior to the public event on Friday. Any cancer survivor and their guest are invited to attend each year at no cost. The event is paid for through fundraisers and sponsors.
Survivor Chair Brian Baine said more than 100 survivors were able to attend the event, along with a caregiver.
“It went great,” he said. “The Tatum brothers from Henagar came and performed for us that night. We also had special guest speaker Dr. Anna Hairston, the assistant principal at Collinsville Elementary School.”
Baine said Hairston is a recent cancer treatment recipient and survivor.
The goal of the dinner is to “make it all about” the survivors and celebrate their journeys. It also gives them a chance to fellowship with individuals that have faced some of the same obstacles, he said.
“It’s kind of a healing process for them too to be able to share with somebody that knows what they’ve been through or the path they have been down,” he said.
Nearly 50 individuals came to serve dinner for the honored guests, the Fort Payne Fire Department, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and community volunteers among them.
This year, the Fort Payne Fire Department not only served food, but fundraised months in advance to sponsor the event, Baine said.
Lt. Eric Middlebrooks said the fire department began selling pink breast cancer awareness shirts last year to raise the funds.
“We’ve always been involved in Relay for Life, but it’s the first year we have funded the Survivor Dinner and participated with the dinner as servers,” he said.
The department was able to raise more than $1,500, and they plan to continue this every year.
“We’re hoping that maybe this will be something that we can keep up to help Brain Baine and the Relay for Life in DeKalb County,” he said. “That money will stay right here in Fort Payne.”
Middlebrooks said to check with the fire department in August or September of 2019 for the next pink T-shirt fundraiser if anyone is interested.
For more information on next year’s dinner or how to sponsor, contact the Relay for Life of DeKalb County, Al page on Facebook.