Mother, Daughter from Huntingdon
chosen to walk in National Relay For Life

POLLY McMULLIN
Daily News - News Editor

Two Huntingdon women mother and daughter have been accepted as Relay Community Ambassadors in the nation's largest cancer education rally. Cindy (Myers) Taylor, a cancer survivor, and her daughter. Sandy Myers, plan to attend the Celebration on the Hill in Washington, D.C., Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 18 and 19. They are among 66 local citizens selected to act as "grass roots" volunteers and spokespersons for the American Cancer Society's advocacy efforts. As of July 8, Myers said 5,300 people were registered. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. Myers said 20,000 luminaries have been sold to date. A candle lighting ceremony will be held to honor cancer survivors and remember those who died from the disease. It begins at dusk. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 to purchase a luminary.

"I can't wait to see those candles glowing after dark around that pool," Myers said.

The ambassadors will represent the interests of those touched by cancer before Congress during the national event. The registered participants are ambassadors, cancer survivors and volunteers from each of the country's 435 Congressional districts, including 260 people from Pennsylvania's 21 Congressional districts.

Members of Congress will be invited to visit the track, meet with their constituents and walk a lap if they desire. "Senators Specter and Santorum plan to attend," Myers said this week.

Myers said she and her mom were nominated by the local ACS unit as people who would make "good ambassadors." They were required to write a 750-word essay about the reason they wanted to participate. They were selected about three months ago. The next step was a training session, including discussion on how to speak to legislators, Myers said.

Cindy, a nurse at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, is a breast cancer survivor from more than six years ago. She was in the recovery stage from treatments when she and Huntingdon Relay for Life held at Detwiler Memorial Field in mid-May. Myers said her mom was given a clean bill of health, but she is currently recovering from recent routine surgery. Cindy will be ready to go join the walk around the pool's track in September.

Fifty tents, one for each state, will line the track. Just like the smaller hometown version of the Relay, each state delegation will have individuals walking the track at all times.

"Everyone is welcome to join the walk," Myers said. This is not a fund-raising event; the delegates are not required to raise a fee to attend. It's about cancer awareness education and sending a message to elected officials that they need to stay committed to enacting policies and providing resources that will help alleviate the nation's cancer burden. This year, an estimated 1.3 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and 550,000 will die.

Sandy and Cindy, along with Cindy's parents, Shirley and "Dixie" Myers, call their team the Country Systems Team after the family's business, in the 2002 Relay in Huntingdon, the team was the top money-raising team with $6,339. Cindy was top individual, raising $2,074. This year's Relay in Huntingdon raised over $98,000.

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