Bailey Koewing’s favorite color is purple.
That color meant something extra on May 2, as the 10-year-old, Durham Intermediate fifth-grader walked around the Carroll High School track with a purple T-shirt with the word, “Survivor” on the back.
“It’s really cool that everybody wants to be part of this,” she said.
Koewing, who has been cancer free for four years, joined hundreds of survivors, fighters and Carroll ISD community members to raise money for the American Cancer Society at the fifth annual Relay for Life Southlake.
Seventy teams and hundreds of participants spent much of the night on May 2 walking around the school’s track, listening to live music, participating in a silent auction to raise more than $108,300.
Many of the night’s participants were walking and raising money for someone they knew.
Eighth-grader Matti Pennington formed team Walkie Talkies and even got her grandfather, Michael Mansfield, a prostate cancer and leukemia survivor, to come out for his fifth Relay for Life in Southlake. Pennington said she participates for her grandfather and aunt.
“I feel like I could contribute in some way,” she said.
Her team raised almost $2,000, according to the Relay for Life website.
The event’s festival-like atmosphere shifted when the field’s lights were turned off and the field was specked with glow sticks in white paper bags that represented cancer survivors or those who have lost their battle. This ceremony, called Luminaria, allowed participants to reflect on cancer and those it has affected, and allowed people to share their stories.
Kristen Ewers, a Rockenbaugh Elementary fourth-grade teacher, shared her story of survival and how faith, family and friends helped her through her battle.
“This was not a curse, it was a situation,” she told the crowd before her. “I knew I would be OK.”
Superintended David Faltys and some of his children spoke about how his wife and their mother’s battle with cancer made them all stronger, before sharing that she was cancer free as off May 1.
“I was able to learn and understand how powerful prayer really is,” 15-year-old Peyton Faltys said. “I learned it’s important to do anything we can when someone is in need.”