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Relay raises thousands for cancer research

Angela Brazile has been diagnosed with cancer twice — but the fight against the disease has made her stronger, she told fellow survivors Saturday as she helped open the annual East Escambia Relay for Life.

“Trials and tribulations only come to make us stronger,” she said. “God is moving us to a place where the best can come out of us. Keep your head up. I am a stronger person, but most of all, I am a stronger person in the Lord.”

After Brazile’s words of encouragement, survivors made the first lap on the grounds of the Brewton Area YMCA to help kick off the annual American Cancer Society fundraiser.

Teams from around Brewton and East Brewton spent several months raising funds in a variety of ways, including raffles, a cake contest and other events. The end result? About $60,000 was raised, Relay Chairwoman Sharon Peacock said.

Some of that money came on Saturday, as teams decorated their tents to go along with a medieval theme and set up shop, selling burgers and hot dogs and other items to help boost their fundraising totals on the final day.

Organizers Peacock and Mandye Reeves said they were glad to see so many people come to help fight for a cure for cancer.

“We’re honored that you have joined the cancer crusaders,” Reeves said.

Peacock’s daughter, Jamie, was the emcee for the event. “We’re here today to celebrate our survivors, to remember our loved ones, and to continue the fight against cancer,” she said.

Jeff Joyce with title sponsor Georgia-Pacific said the company was honored to help the event.

“We recognize what you represent to us,” he told survivors before their first lap.

Cancer survivors lead the first survivors lap to open Relay for Life Saturday.