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Concord Students Remember Cancer Victims

Brian Allen

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in West Virginia and the United States according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Concord University students wanted to remember their lost loved ones this year with a ceremony.

Students gathered in front of the Carillon bells at the Athens campus.

Organizer Corey Booth wanted to host an event during lung cancer awareness month, which is November, in honor of his father’s current fight.

“I had attended a high school football game during the month of October," Booth said. "They did a breast cancer awareness balloon release."

"Since this month is the awareness month for the cancer that my dad has I brought up the idea to do a release for the month of November.”

Booth’s dad has been battling lung cancer for a little over a year. 

Booth is a member of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. The chapter at Concord sponsored the event though several school organizations participated. 

Students held a balloon with a name written on it.  The names represented loved ones, family members and friends diagnosed with cancer.  There was a brief moment of silence preceding a roll call of all the names on the balloons, which included survivors, those currently fighting the disease, and those who had been lost.

Psychology major, Brittany Lovelace, was there to remember her great-grandmother who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2003. 

“I think it’s really good to generate the awareness,” Lovelace said. “Even though it’s been 10 years since my grandmother passed it’s something that’s still heavy in your heart and cancer is very like she said prevalent in the world.”

Studio Art major, Mandy Lester, was there for her grandfather, who is a 10 year survivor of lung cancer.  He had a grapefruit sized tumor removed from his right lung and he’s been cancer free ever since.

“There’s always the possible chance that it could come back,” Lester said, “but he gets his yearly checkups or bi-yearly checkups and the doctors are confident that it’s probably not going to come back.”

Once everyone’s name had been read, there was a short countdown before the balloons were released.  They climbed into the evening air, staying close together as they traveled into unknown territory, much like those who have faced this life taking disease.


The group began to dwindle as the Concord Carillon bells rang out in the night air.

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