North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


May 11, 2009

Fultondale Senior Center assembles Relay for Life team

By Adam Smith

The North Jefferson News

This year’s North Jefferson Relay for Life will have a special significance to a Fultondale woman.

The event, held Friday at the Kenneth A. Clemons Athletic Complex on Fieldstown Road, has selected Dorothy Byrd as an honorary chairperson.

Byrd, 71, is the director of the Fultondale Senior Center. She’s also a cancer survivor.

She was diagnosed in September 2004 with breast cancer. In October of that year, she began chemotherapy. In January 2005, she underwent a double-mastectomy, followed by more chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments.

When asked what her reaction was after hearing the cancer diagnosis, she said “the word is just scary.”

“I had good support and the people around me were just wonderful,” she said. “I snapped out of it quickly and depended on my faith.”

Byrd is now cancer free, but has to take a daily medication. She is also checked for cancer every two weeks, a process she’ll endure for the rest of her life.

As a tribute to her own cancer survival and to pay tribute to others who have battled cancer, Byrd and members of the senior center formed a Relay for Life team. The team, Dorothy’s Angels, is made up of 12 senior center members including Byrd’s husband, Bobby Byrd. Other team members include Barbara and Cecil Ingram, Harvey Dial, Glenn and Gladys Black, Lily Pruitt, Don Wood, Margaret Newman and Billie Best.

Dorothy Byrd said she appreciates the opportunity to be the event chairperson this year and looks forward to next week’s event. As part of her chairperson duties, she will also speak at the opening ceremony and at a survivor’s dinner.

“It’s wonderful to see all those people out there that care,” she said. “It’s a very exciting thing and it can be very emotional.”

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