Thomasville Times Enterprise

April 10, 2014

Survivor support

Susanne Reynolds

THOMASVILLE — Grady County Relay for Life is eager to show its ongoing support for cancer survivors in the community.

For the past few years, Grady County Relay for Life has given a special survivors dinner to  local cancer survivors. The 2014 dinner, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, will be hosted by Long Branch Baptist Church on Long Branch Church Road in Cairo. This is the church’s first year hosting the dinner with Sherry Smith coordinating. Emily Lamontagne of the South Atlantic Division of Cancer will be the featured speaker.

This is not a fundraiser for the Relay for Life events. It is a way to show support and honor those who have fought cancer and persevered. Cairo’s JoAnne Brinkley fits into that category.

Brinkley is a survivor who has coordinated the event in the past and worked with the American Cancer Society. Diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago, she credits persistent for the reason she is a survivor today.

“One important thing is to be persistent — and make sure you get a second opinion if you are faced with this. You know your body better than anyone else — and you know when something is wrong,” said Brinkley.

Brinkley feels blessed that hercancer was caught in time, especially since her mammograms would show something of concern at times and nothing at all at others. That is why she requested a biopsy. She knew something was wrong.

She said, “You know your body and you shouldn’t give up on it. You can never be too careful.”

Brinkley also credits the support and love from her family, and God.

After two decades and a double mastectomy, Brinkley will celebrate being a survivor at the dinner with fellow local survivors.

Along with the dinner, a Survivors Sunday will be held at Long Branch Baptist Church.

The local survivors dinner is free and each survivor may bring one guest. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Sherry Smith at (229) 378-0638.

Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.