PENDLETON — Sixty-four-year old Pat Ratican-Konkle has been an uterine cancer survivor for 41 years, so what can 15 hours of camping out for American Cancer Society Relay for Life 2006 emphasize?

Being Madison County’s 11th such event, this was Ratican-Konkle’s inaugural showing at the event, which lasts from 7 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. today at Pendleton Heights High School.

The Anderson resident was moved by her ex-husband’s wife, who battled a couple cancers, one being of the lungs, and her daughter-in-law’s mother who had a mastectomy this month.

“They got me interested,” Ratican-Konkle said. “There’s a special relationship among the survivors. It’s a very emotional thing.”

At Relay for Life, the survivor saw bowling and golf partners. People she hadn’t seen in years wore a purple survivor T-shirt, just as she did.

Ratican-Konkle was part of the 15-person Community Hospital Anderson team. Each member raised at least $100. Lisa Ratican, her daughter-in-law, works at the hospital.

From the cheese ball toss to campsite decorating to a scavenger hunt, supporters were as strong of a presence as survivors to raise $140,000 this year.

Kraig Rice, 17, already took the inaugural walk around the track. The second time around, “We are the Champions” by Queen got his juices flowing.

He and sister Katee Rice walked the track in honor of fellow Lapel High School student Phil Walker, an upcoming senior who had two brain tumors removed, and grandmother Nancy Rice, whose colon cancer quickly spread and led her to her June 2004 death.

“Our grandmother was really close to us,” four-year participant Kraig Rice said. “We want to raise awareness, so the disease won’t get as far (as it did with my grandmother). That’s another important thing of stopping cancer: getting check-ups.”

Lapel High School students Carmela King, Klayton Huff, Abby Goldsmith and Alyssa Gernand rallied overnight with the siblings sporting red “Stayin’ Alive” T-shirts and feasting on Pringles and hot dogs.

Emily Carter, 58, was somewhat choked up since her husband Marllon Wayne Carter couldn’t make the event. This would’ve been their third Relay for Life together.

Marllon, 73, a renal cell carcinoma survivor, is recuperating from a May 25 surgery to remove his left kidney. Originally diagnosed in October 2003, he had a tumor removed and recovered. The disease returned last year.

Hopefully, husband-and-wife team can return to next year’s commemoration.

“God willing,” Emily said.

She had two luminaries for her parents, one of whom had cancer in the 1950s, and one for her husband.

A parade of luminaries bordered the track and were lit at 10:30 p.m. Diane M. Willis’ was covered in spring time flowers, Jerry Alford’s bore heart shapes drawn with a marker.

Even booths drew crowds. A Wall of Hope, filled by Relay for Life participants’ signatures, will go to Washington, D.C., as a display of unity to encourage more research dollars for the National Institute of Health and legislation requiring health care providers and insurance companies to give a “reasonable” amount of care instead of “drive-thru mastectomies,” said Virginia Chapman, ACS volunteer and Anderson legislative ambassador.

Petitioners signed a log to support the Bush Administration’s goal to eliminate suffering and death from cancer by 2015.

“These books will be given to legislators, so they’ll understand who’s concerned out of their constituency,” Chapman said.

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