Finishing the Fight

GLOVERSVILLE – Cancer survivors walked around the Park Terrace Elementary School track on Friday night to kick off the 2014 Relay for Life of Fulton-Montgomery.

With roughly 500 walkers, signed up before the event, even more people were expected to come out to raise money to aid cancer research and support services.

Bob Countryman, a throat cancer survivor walking with his daughter and stepson, said he was walking with the hope the money raised will help find a cure.

“So somebody else wouldn’t have to go through the treatments for this, the operation and stuff,” Countryman said.

The relay, which is scheduled to run until about 7 a.m. today, raises funds for the American Cancer Society.

Jamin Clemente, chairwoman for the Relay for Life of Fulton-Montgomery, said this year’s goal was to raise up to $140,000.

According to Kristine Revelle, specialist with the Relay for Life, the Fulton-Montgomery Relay for Life has raised roughly $68,000 as of Friday evening.

Survivors made the first lap at 6:30 p.m., opening the relay for the crowd. Soon, friends, family and caretakers were walking with them.

Gerald Mitchell, Bob Countryman’s stepson and a prostate cancer survivor, said he was walking so people with cancer would know they were not alone in their fight against the disease.

“They are very reserved people, but they want to show everybody that there are survivors out there,” Bobbie Countryman, Bob’s daughter and Mitchell’s sister, said.

Jackie Gardner of Gloversville, one of the speakers at the event, was diagnosed in 1999 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Speaking to the crowd, Gardner was wiping away tears as she talked about how doctors at first believed her symptoms were scabies or a skin condition. After several months of several mistaken diagnoses, she began her treatment and is now cancer free.

“Seeing as my chance of living was 30 percent and I lived, I said I was giving back. I’m paying back for all the research and everything that made me still be alive,” Gardner said.

The annual Relay for Life of Amsterdam also was scheduled to begin Friday at Amsterdam High School.