Finishing the fight

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Ascension Parish's Miss Relay for Life Melanie Shea, Miss Teen Relay for Life Marissa Boudreaux, along with Ms. Gheens Bon Mainge IX, Nicole Legendre, Marie Legendre, the St Charles Relay for Life Ambassador Queen I, and Miss Greater Baton Rouge Renee Picou.

Everything that has a starting point has an ending one as well. For the Ascension Parish Relay for Life event that took place at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on May 3, it encouraged cancer survivors to “finish the fight.”

Miss Teen Relay for Life Marissa Boudreaux is a fighter after being diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 8. She along with WAFB’s Donna Britt, and Ascension Parish Councilman Randy Clouatre shared their stories of battling cancer before a celebratory walk began.

Boudreaux said it feels amazing to be able to express to people how serious cancer really is and how many different types there are.

“I went through chemotherapy when I was eight years old and I remember everything. It was so hard,” Boudreaux said. “I remember asking my mom why, and she just cried. I didn’t understand why I had to go through these treatments because I was too young to understand what cancer was.”

However, being able to represent the Ascension Relay for Life as Miss Teen, Boudreaux said “feels awesome.”

“I love my team and I love the cause. I love being a very real representative of what it means.”

Britt is a six-year survivor who had cancer hereditarily. She said when it’s hereditary it is “important you are screened regularly.”

Britt pumped the audience when she said, “You are here because you believe in hope and today is a festival because you are here.”

“Our idea of making the cure of cancer is by having a festival because that's what's south Louisiana is about,” Britt said.

“Drug companies aren't going to volunteer to fund for the cure, that's why we're here and I say thank you and I love you.”

Clouatre said he was “hard headed” all his life because he didn't go to the doctor until “I was hurting.”

“Out of 10 children we have five of us with cancer and four are survivors,” Clouatre said. “You can't outrun the gene.”

Boudreaux wasn’t the only person donning a crown at the Relay for Life. Ascension Parish’s Miss Relay for Life Melanie Shea, along with Ms. Gheens Bon Mainge IX, Nicole Legendre, Marie Legendre, the St Charles Relay for Life Ambassador Queen I, and Miss Greater Baton Rouge Renee Picou.

Shea said it’s something very close to her heart and she feels “very blessed to get this opportunity to spread and promote cancer awareness through all.”

“I have so many members of my family that have lost their battle to it and are currently battling it,” Shea said. “You can never stop promoting and to aware others of all the different causes of cancer. It’s just not those who go through fighting cancer, it also affects the family members and the caregivers.”

Shea added, “It’s a very big impact to go through and the most important thing is to keep positive and keep motivating those around you.”