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Representatives from Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation sport tutus as they walk the track at Corydon Central High School during the 17th annual Relay for Life of Harrison County. Photos by Bobby Shipman

Full moon shines on Relay's $77,000

June 18, 2014 | 10:14 AM

Sue Kibby, 68, marched proudly around the Corydon Central High School football field, flower in hand and a silver medallion shining on her chest.

The medallion, tied around her neck by a thick purple ribbon, glinted in the piercing sunlight as it dangled over her matching purple shirt.

Ann Lillpop, a four-year cancer survivor, speaks about her battle with the rare blood-cancer multiple myeloma, prior to the Luminaria ceremony at Friday's Relay for Life in Corydon.
Kibby became a four-year breast cancer survivor in March.

"It was a very early cancer. I'm very fortunate," she said.

Kibby, along with many other cancer survivors, kicked off the 17th annual Harrison County Relay for Life by participating in the survivor's lap.

Through her bout with the disease, she underwent two lumpectomies and 33 radiation treatments.

"For me, it was not terribly bad. It was like a really bad sunburn. It was determined that I would not need chemo," she said. "It's an up and down though, as you're waiting for all the answers; that's the hardest part."

Kibby and her husband moved to Corydon from Paducah, Ky., two years ago where they also attended Relay for Life. She never expected to be walking in the survivor's lap herself, she said, but likes to see so many survivors.

"It makes me feel fortunate every time because I think mine was easy compared to what other people have," she said. "It's like you're in a special family, maybe not a family you would choose, but you do feel privileged to be with everybody."

Ghosts and ghouls adorned the various tables and booths scattered about the field in honor of Friday, the 13th, Relay's chosen theme for 2014.

This year, 221 participants registered online, with about 35 teams total.

Harrison County Relay for Life raised $77,000 so far and hopes to reach $90,000 by Aug. 31.

Tyson chicken dinners, with sides prepared by Bill's Catering & BBQ, sold out by the end of the night.

As the sunshine trickled away, a full moon dressed the night sky, which complimented the spooky decor. The traditional Luminaria ceremony then began with the return of the T-shirt toss and followed by a tale of survival from Ann Lillpop.

Lillpop, a four-year cancer survivors, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer which effects the plasma cells in bone marrow.

"I was a healthy and very fit, 54-year-old woman, who had just been given her death sentence," Lillpop said.

She said that she became so weak she couldn't open the door to her house or carry her own purse.

"I don't know why, but God spoke to me and he said, 'You know what, you've just got to keep smiling, Ann. You've got to take care of yourself and you've got to be strong for your kids'," she said.

Lillpop kept working throughout her chemotherapy treatments until her cancer went into remission.

Since she was "clean," she was able to go through with an autologous stem cell transplant, in which her own stem cells were harvested and reused to rescue her immune system.

After the successful procedure, Lillpop lost her hair. When she revealed this to her family, her son went out and shaved his head to match.

"For all of you just entering this battle, I was there. I feel your pain, I know your alienation and I've cried your tears. We cannot understand why bad things have to happen to us," she said. "We just have to accept the cards that we are dealt, and, as Yolanda Adam's hymn says, 'No matter what you are going through, remember that God only wants a chance to use you; for the battle is not yours, it's the Lord's'."

Everyone then began to light the candles inside the little white, paper bags lining the track in memoriam of lives lost to cancer.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 • 1-812-738-2211 • email