Hundreds Camping Out In Denison To Help Fight Cancer - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Hundreds Camping Out In Denison To Help Fight Cancer

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DENISON, TX -- Hundreds of people are camping out in Denison tonight. They're not sleeping outdoors to enjoy the weather, or to stargaze. Instead, they're raising money to help find a cure for cancer.

Everyone at the Relay for Life has a different story of how cancer has affected them. For some, this is their first time attending one of these events, because they just lost someone in the past year.

Most people walking and having fun at the Denison High School track tonight have a personal reason. "Because my son had cancer," says Dortha Fritts, who lost her son to esophageal cancer.

"He was very aggressive with it," says daughter Marlene Monk. "He went through chemo and radiation and really tried to tackle it heavy and did really well and we had a few probably about a year in there where things went great, and then when it came back it came back in a different location in his liver and much harder to fight that second time around."

They lost him in December.  Across the field, for another group, it's a night of remembering Tioga teenager Chalisa Smith.

"If you would have seen her you would never know she had cancer," says Tioga ISD employee Rachel Baeza.

The girl came to this Relay twice herself, battling since the fourth grade with leukemia.

"She would start out you know every year and of course with her chemo with her she went through California, just different states to find something that would help her out," says Baeza.

She made it to high school, but was too sick to keep going with her classmates.

"This year, she enrolled in Tioga back again and she was only there for a day," says Baeza.

"We would really like to see something done so we can start making advances and curing these things," says Monk.

The event kicked off with a Survivor Lap where those who have survived cancer were taking a walk around the track.

That was followed by a lap for caregivers. The idea is to keep someone from your team on the track all night long until about 7 a.m.

"You of course are tired, but there's also a sense of accomplishment and renewal in the morning," says event chair Mary Linder.

"We just figured that we were going to keep going even though she's gone, but we're going to keep going because there's others that's fighting it too," says Baeza.

They've raised $52,000 with 36 teams totaling about 600 people, Linder said. Grayson County's Relay has been going on for more than 10 years and benefits the American Cancer Society.