OUR TOWN: Canyon creates first Relay for Life in Texas

For a town with a population just short of 13,000, Canyon was the first in the state of organize a Relay for Life event. A feat Canyon takes pride in, knowing this small town community helped inspire others to step up and fund raise to find a cure for cancer. Pronews 7 is featuring the growth of this relay in "Our Town, Welcome to Canyon".

A somber reminder of a universal disease that has affected every single one of our lives in one way or another, cancer.

"Somebody knows somebody that's a friend of a friend or someone that's had cancer or has been touched by cancer," said Elexa Kahan, Canyon Relay for Life Co-Chair.

It's that very reason, in 1991 that inspired the City of Canyon to create the first ever Relay for Life in the State of Texas. It was then held at Randall High School's track. Since, it only continues to grow. Organizers said the city's small town roots and heart of gold is the reason behind it's continued success.

"This community by far of any communities I've ever lived in, and I've lived in a lot, is one of the friendless, most helpful communities I've ever lived in," said Beth Vizzini, Canyon Relay for Life Chair.

Years ago, Relay for Life was moved and held at Canyon Junior High raising $18,000. For the past two years, the event is now held at West Texas A&M University's sports complex. So far this year, raising $39,000.

"It's an amazing feeling to be in such a small community and have such a great support just awesome community support, you know, the students at WT are wonderful and love to come out and get involved," said Vizzini.

It's not just the universal call to find a cure for cancer that makes Canyon's event such a success, it's also the survivors stories. Jolenna Wright is a 12 year cancer survivor. She beat her 20% survival rate after being diagnosed with a rare form of internal melanoma.

"I don't wish it on anybody. I hope they find a cure and it doesn't happen to anyone because cancer isn't just for an old person it starts with babies and it can be the elderly," said Wright.

Looking ahead to what organizers say will be another 23 years of success they want to continue to see the event grow.

"What I would like to see is that tracked lined with teams, I would love to see more community teams, more WT teams, I want to create traffic jams at WT," said Vizzini.

Making more noise, and taking action with one goal in mind, to continue to dominate and win the battle against cancer.