LIBERTY — “People want to meet their hero. We are fortunate enough to be father and mother to ours,” said Matthew Bradley of his 6-year-old son son Campbell.
Campbell was diagnosed four days after his birth in 2007 with neuroblastoma, a tumor on his spine that in his young life affected his ability to walk and led to more than 17 surgeries.
The father spoke through tears Friday night to a gathering of hundreds of cancer survivors and their supporters at the annual Pickens County Relay for Life at the old Liberty High School football stadium.
“You have seen him out here tonight and seen that he can run and jump and play,” Matthew Bradley told the crowd. “Doctors thought he might never walk again.”
Campbell was backed by a team of supporters calling themselves “Team Fight Like a Hero.” Campbell loves superheroes, especially Captain America whom he got a chance to meet courtesy of the Make A Wish Foundation.
Approximately 30 such teams turned out Friday to support one another and raise money that they will donate to the American Cancer Society for cancer research. They included such teams as Lucky Lois organized for and about Lois Porter of Easley. Porter, a waitress at Joe’s Ice Cream in Easley, has fought off two diagnoses of cancer, most recently at the beginning of planning of this year’s Relay for Life in January.
Also fielding a team was “Collins Cuties,” a collection of mostly student supporters of Janie Collins, a teacher at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center. One of the “Collins Cuties” was Sabrina House, who was herself diagnosed with leukemia at age 2. The teenager helped decorate a tent at the Relay for Life event occupied by the team.
Kayla Roy, a student at Gettys Middle School, carried a giant ribbon for Easley General Surgery. The ribbon is a symbol for the fight against cancer. Reda Collins, co-chair of the Easley General Surgery Team with Kayla’s mom, Tanya, the health care providers have seen a lot of patients in 15 years and are out supporting them.
Among the unique fund-raising efforts came from Sheriff Rick Clark, who organized a team using Bail for Jail to collect donations.
Miss Liberty Sydney Smith leads “Renae’s Queens for a Cure.” The group is named for Sydney’s grandmother, Renae Smith Curtis of Easley. “I have my middle name from her,” Smith said to the Relay for Life crowd. She is a rising junior at Anderson University and will participate in the
Miss South Carolina Pageant. Her platform focuses on the fight against cancer through fund-raising, emotional support and awareness.