Finding the cure for cancer can't come fast enough

CLARKSTON, WA - The world's largest movement to end cancer was a success, as hundreds gathered to participate in the local Relay for Life over the past weekend.

Finding the cure for cancer can't come fast enough for the survivors and those battling the deadly disease.

Millions of people's lives throughout the United States have already been rocked by the diagnosis of cancer. And soon many more will begin their own battle with the life-threatening disease.

"2.5-million people will be diagnosed this year and 550,000 people will lose their battle with cancer," said Livestrong Cancer Support Group member Al Banta.

Banta said, remembrance of those that have died is a big part of the annual Relay for Life event, but it's also a celebration of those who have defeated the disease and eradicated the tumors that threatened their future.

"Two of them are totally gone, one in the brain is totally gone," said cancer survivor Kimberly Hecht. "So I have a lot of hope. I'm glad I'm here tonight."

Cancer survivors make up a large portion of the relay community and they kicked off the annual event by taking a survivor lap for their victory against cancer, a victory that never comes easily.

"I had the cervical 43 years ago, and then three years ago melanoma," said cancer survivor Carole Sachs. "13 years, breast cancer was the big one."

"Went through major surgery and follow-up and was given five years to live and that's 25-years ago," said Banta.

And despite what they've gone through physically, it's their outlook on life that they say has been altered most of all.

"Take every day that you get up and put your feet on the floor, do something with it, something that's going to cause a memory, that's going to be fun, because it's so worth it," said Hecht.

"When you survive cancer you become a true optimist, just the way you look at life," said Sachs.

Many survivors said that it's the support from, family, friends and a community that keeps them fighting.

More than $25,000 was raised at this year's Snake River Relay for Life.