Fluvanna Celebrates Record-Breaking Relay for Life

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The Fluvanna County community is celebrating a record-breaking Relay for Life.

The 15-hour walk was a chance for the Fluvanna community to celebrate the triumphs of cancer survivors, remember those who've lost their lives to the disease, and bind together for a promise of hope.

"The people that have cancer wear these shirts," said 5-year-old Sophie Pace, showing off her purple T-shirt.

Pace was diagnosed with cancer at just 3 years old.  But at Fluvanna's Relay for Life this weekend, she celebrated two years of being cancer-free.

"I survived it," said Pace.

Pace walked the first lap of the relay alongside 76 other cancer survivors.  Her parents say meeting survivors of more than 25 years is a promise.

"The promise - it's the positive - that she's going to be fine and she's going to continue to get good results," said Mitchell Pace, Sophie's father.

More than 500 Relayers camped out through the night Saturday into Sunday - always circling the track to take strides against cancer.  After dark, they came together for a luminary ceremony and a candlelit silent lap.

Each carefully-decorated luminary remembered a loved one who lost the battle with cancer, or reflected on a painful journey back to health.

"Sometimes it's easy to hide," said Sophie's mother, Marie Pace. "Sometimes the pain is very private. You go through it and it's hard. But if you choose to do that and live that way, you cut off this amazing support system that we have and that's what got us through."

As the sun came up, Fluvanna's Relay for Life Chair Andi Cumbo announced the event raised almost $105,000 for the American Cancer Society, promising a new dawn for people touched by cancer.

"We all walk around and remember people but we also take strength from one another and that's probably the best part of all this," said Cumbo.

This is Fluvanna's second annual Relay for Life.  The total of $105,000 beats last year's record of $85,000, and surpassed this year's goal of $100,000.

The relay is collecting donations online until August.

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