Moshannon Valley takes time to fight cancer at Relay for Life

Xavier Coudriet’s celebrated his eighth birthday about two weeks ago, and all of his birthday money gave him an opportunity to give back.

He decided it was better spent as a donation to the American Cancer Society.

Hundreds like Xavier, young and old, attended the Relay for Life of the Moshannon Valley on Saturday, which benefited the ACS. Volunteer Diane Kennedy said she hoped they would feed about 150 at the Relay For Life dinner and that 500 people would show up despite clouds and a light rain.

“You just never know with this weather,” Kennedy said.

The weather wouldn’t stop Xavier and his grandmother, Pam Warsing, who said they’ve gone just about every year.

“I was thinking of all the people that have cancer, and they deserve that (money) to be better,” Xavier said.

Kennedy said it’s good to see people like Xavier support the fight against cancer.

“It’s actually a blessing to see everyone that comes here,” Kennedy. “We get to know to people’s battles and what they’ve gone through and what they may still be going through, and when you see someone that has won the fight it’s a blessing and that’s what we hope for everyone someday.”

Volunteer Lynne Dotts said Relay for Life is important for her to support, particularly because her father died from cancer and her brother and sister beat it.

“My dad was only 67, but at least had his life and so many experiences,” Dotts said. “When you see these young people that come through, the young kids and teenagers and those in their early 20s with cancer, it’s heartbreaking.”

She also saw her son’s friend fight for his life.

“My son’s best friend is 25, and he has survived cancer, and he’s married, has a little baby, but was going though chemo treatments when his wife was pregnant,” Dotts said. “I want him to grow up and see his grandchildren. You just hope that they can find a cure to get this under control.”

Every penny counts, even birthday money.