Miss-Lou event kicks off Friday in new venue
NATCHEZ — Mary-Ann Anderson was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Friday night she decided to celebrate her life.
Anderson, who is a Natchez resident, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014, when she had her first surgery, and is currently going through treatments.
Anderson gathered with hundreds of Miss-Lou residents Friday at the Concordia Recreational District 3 Complex to walk in support of those who have survived cancer, and those who have lost their battle.
Anderson said she fights her battle for her six-year-old son, Matthew Anderson. Her mother, Willie Mae Edwards, lost her battle with cancer in May 2008. Edwards died from a brain tumor that eventually spread to her lungs.
“She fought it for 10 years and had two major surgeries on her brain,” Anderson said. “I admire my mom for being the strong woman she was. She was a fighter.”
Although Anderson said she longed to attend the Relay for Life for a number of years to honor her mother, she always found a reason to avoid the event.
“Going would have been too many memories of my mother,” Anderson said. “Now I’m diagnosed with breast cancer and I’m here.”
But Anderson believes everything happens for a reason.
“Maybe I’m here so I can help somebody else,” she said. “And how can you help someone else if you haven’t fought the fight? I’m now fighting that fight with God. It’s good to come out and meet people who are going through what you’re going through.”
Anderson encourages everyone to get his or her yearly checkups.
“I would advise anyone not to skip an appointment,” Anderson said. “I do it every year and if I would not have gone, I wouldn’t have caught it in time. It’s a blessing.”
Natchez resident Jackie Britt is a 32-year cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with melanoma, cancer of the skin, in June 1983.
During her short battle, she prayed to God not for herself, but for her son, Jay Britt.
“I thought there was no way that I could lose my baby,” she said. “I prayed to God to let me live and watch him become a man.”
Jay is now in his early 30s, Britt said.
Vidalia residents Raymond and Bettye Lindeman have been married for 14 years and both have survived cancer.
Raymond was diagnosed with prostate cancer 20 years ago, while Bettye was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2006, and again in 2010.
They were both thankful to be alive and be able to attend the Relay for Life.
“I love to get out here with everyone — those who had cancer — and I like to mix with them to see how they are doing,” Raymond said.
The Miss-Lou Relay for Life began in 1996 to honor cancer survivors.
During the Relay for Life, participants, including survivors and those whose lives have been affected by someone else’s cancer, walk around a track in memory of those who have died or in support of those who have survived or are being treated for cancer.
Throughout the night, teams collect money that will go to support cancer research.
Participants at the site began walking around 6:45 p.m. and were expected to continue until 2 a.m. this morning.