NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Jo Clevenger lost her mom to cancer 17 years ago.
During her mother's nine-month battle against the disease, she participated in Relay for Life.
"I still remember that day like it was yesterday," Clevenger said. "The opportunity to witness my mother take her first Survivor lap in 1999. I stood back behind the fence watching...worried because she seemed so frail after all her surgeries and treatments. She wasn't frail. She was strong. She was an inspiration."
This year, Clevenger is the chair of the Relay for Life of New Hanover County. The event will bring together survivors, their caregivers, family and friends Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, at Ashley High School.
"Tomorrow, I am looking forward to watching all of our local cancer survivors to take that celebratory lap at the start 2017 American Cancer Society Relay For Life Of New Hanover County," Clevenger said. "Relay gives our community a place to fight back against cancer, remember those we have lost and celebrate our local 'Heroes of Hope.'"
Clevenger thought of her mother when the cancer survivors took their steps at the Relay.
"She was the last to finish that lap, but she was empowered by it and that's what we will give our community," Clevenger said.
As a military wife, Clevenger has participated in several relays around the nation since losing her mom. This is her first year chairing one.
The theme of this year's relay is 'Hope Has No Curfew' since the event is back to an overnight walk.
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