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Relay for Life raises more than $39K at Shepherd

By Staff | Apr 17, 2017

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Penny Horner knows firsthand about the effects of cancer. Her mother passed away from cancer and then just six years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. She has seen the devastation the dreaded disease can cause.

“I was in denial at first. I guess we all wonder ‘Why me?’ It was really fast,” Horner said. “Everything started spinning out of control. You need to have support in place.”

She had support and it came from the least expected place.

“I had my first grandson at that time. He was about two years old. He helped me get up every morning and I remember there were plenty of days where I would lay my head down on one of his toys thinking ‘Oh my goodness, how are we ever going to get through this day.’ But we did. He helped me,” Horner said.

She found additional support from Relay for Life.

“I started doing Relay for Life in upstate New York. My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and I lost her when she was 55 years old,” Horner said.

She knows the support can make a big difference for someone going through the hardest time of their lives.

“It has made a world of difference. I’m able to take a medication once a day that helps me and keeps my cancer away,” Horner said.

Relay for Life not only provides new friends, but also money to help cover some of the new costs a patient incurs. Now, not only is she a cancer survivor, Horner is also the community manager for the American Cancer Society and is helping raise money for the cause.

“(The funds are) going to help support families and the cancer patients with lodging. We have partnered with hotels also to help our cancer patients if they had to travel a far distance away from home for their treatment,” Horner said. “We have ‘Roads to Recovery,’ it’s a great program in our area. We have volunteer drivers that we train and they come and pick up patients and take them to the medical appointments and then take them back home.”

This weekend she had help from Shepherd University’s Relay for Life event. Shepherd put 41 teams in the event.

“They do fundraising from the moment they come to school in August right up until after Relay. There are different organizations at Shepherd University and they form their own teams,” Horner said. “They walk the track and do laps. They try to keep one team member on the track at all times. They are basically going through the emotions of what a cancer patient has to deal with.”

The event lasted until 4 a.m. Saturday morning.

“Relay for Life of Shepherd University ended their relay with a total of $39,494.10, which will continue to grow right up until the end of the Relay season on August 31,” Horner said.

Donations can continue to be made online at www.relayforlife.org/shepherdwv or turned into the Student Engagement Office on campus.