Although Sampson County’s annual Relay for Life event is not until the end of May, local cancer survivors will be coming together this month for the Sampson County Survivors Dinner to celebrate life and share their support and encouragement with one another.
The dinner, now in its sixth year, will be held Saturday, April 20 ,from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Clinton Family Worship Center.
In addition to being served an Italian dinner of spaghetti and salad, attendees will also have the opportunity to win a variety of door prizes.
“So far, we have 31 door prizes to give away. Show Room Furntiure always donates a recliner and many other businesses in town have donated items,” said Rhonda Lockamy, organizer of the dinner.
“We have small and big prizes,” added Relay for Life co-chair April Hicks. “It can be anythign from an oil change to a recliner.”
As part of the evening, survivors will also be treated to a message of encouragment from local motivational speaker Michael Mozingo.
“I have been involved for about 10 years now with the Relay for Life pageant at Serentiy Baptist Church, and in that time, I have realized the importance and real magnitude of helping and supporting cancer survivors,” shared Mozingo, calling the dinner “a worthwhile event.”
“When I travel the state speaking, I usually talk about the three things that made the man I am today which are faith, education, and a mother’s love,” said Mozingo. “Getting to share these things with the survivors is a special gift. I’m really excited.”
For Muzingo, participating in the dinner also means having the opportunity to set an example for younger generations to follow. “As a retired educator who taught for over 25 years, I believe community service and giving back is something important that children need to be involved in. We need to help them, show them, how to connect to their community,” stressed Muzingo. “It’s a great opportunity to come together in faith and promote that sense of community.”
Rhonda Lockamy, who is organizing the dinner for the third year now, is thrilled to have Mozingo on board. “He’s a wonderful person and sings beautifully,” she attested, adding that he will entertain the survivors with song.
Although Mozingo is the evening’s speaker, Lockamy shared that attending survivors will also have the opportunity to share their stories. “We decided to do something a little different this year. After Michael speaks and sings, we are going to open the floor to anyone who wants to share their survival story. It doesn’t have to be long testimony; it can be just a simple blessing.”
Lockamy added that any caretakers and family members who are in attendace will also be encouraged to speak because they are right there in the trenches alongside the survivors as they fight against cancer.
The role of caretaker is close to Lockamy as her own family has been affected by cancer. “My mom and my brother had cancer. My brother is a survivor and my mom died in 2007. When it hits you at home, you realize how special survivors are.”
“It’s just a pleasure to see them all come together and to see them so happy,” continued Lockamy, describing her task of organizing the dinner “a job but it’s a rewarding job.”
Local cancer survivors are certainly thankful that Lockamy and the rest of the Sampson County Relay for Life team are so dedicated to their job.
One of those survivors is Daisy Herring who was disagnosed with cancer in the 2006 but fortunately has not needed to receive any treatment since 2008.
“I have been to all of them,” said Herring of the dinner. “I think it is a great thing and I am proud to be a part of it, proud to be a survivor.”
When asked about her favorite aspects of the dinner, Herring replied with a laugh, “The food.”
“No, what I really enjoy the most is fellowshiping with other survivors,” added Herring.
“I think it uplifts people to see other people who have gone through the same thing and survived it. It helps to talk with others about what has happened to them and you,” Herring explained.
And she is also looking for to the big Relay for Life event this summer. “I go every year, and it’s always such a blessing,” said Herring. “I’m so thankful that I am able to walk that track.”
For more information about the Survivor Dinner, please contact Rhonda Lockamy at 910-385-5012.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.