VICTORIA — Almost 100 were in attendance to celebrate the gift of life at Monday evening’s Relay for Life of Ellis County Survivors’ Supper.
The theme for the 10th annual event, held at Victoria Grade School, was “The Best gift for Christmas is: a Cure and YOU!”
Mary Befort, of rural Victoria, with the help of her family, started the dinner for cancer survivors and their caregivers a decade ago after attending a Relay for Life state summit and hearing of other counties hosting one. That first year, about 35 attended the dinner, and it has grown since.
“People enjoy it, tell other survivors,” said Befort, a six-time cancer survivor who first was diagnosed 20 years ago. “I think once they come, they’re hooked.”
Some attendees were dressed in Christmas attire. There were Christmas decorations on the table and a couple small Christmas trees. After a dinner of ham, potatoes and green beans, donated prizes were raffled out followed by bingo. Each person leaving received a gift basket.
Norbert Kuhn, of Victoria, attended the dinner with his sister, Diane Unrein. A seven-year kidney cancer survivor, Kuhn likes coming to the annual dinner.
“It’s good to meet a lot of friends,” he said.
Keith Harper, of Hays, was in attendance with his wife, Kathy. He is a third-year survivor of kidney and prostate cancer.
“Clean bill,” he said. “Never had to have chemo or radiation. I was very lucky.”
Harper said the dinner provides an outlet for cancer survivors.
“The nice thing is we have all been there, done that,” he said.
After his diagnosis, Harper said, it was important to stay in the right frame of mind.
“Everything has to be in a positive mode,” he said.
Kathy Harper said it wasn't easy at first, but having others to rely on helped.
“I’m thankful for our friends and family and faith to get us through this,” she said, adding she appreciated having a dinner like this.
“It’s really awesome,” she said. “I’m just amazed to see the people affected by cancer and have made it. It’s a great way to honor them.”
Befort said after one year’s dinner is finished she starts thinking and planning for the next year’s supper.
“I feel God has left me on this earth to help others through this journey,” Befort said.