NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – It's a disease that claims thousands of lives every year. Yet supporters and those battling cancer are determined to keep fighting.
The American Cancer Society relay for life allows communities across the globe to celebrate survivors and honor loved ones who have lost their fight.
Demetra Holcomb was only 27-years-old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I was scared mostly that I was going to die. You know first thing is like cancer-- you are going to die," said Holcomb.
Co-worker Nikki Duckett remembers the day she heard the news from her best friend.
"My heart kind of dropped because you know you never imagine that someone this close to you would go through something like that," said Duckett.
Nikki and fellow staff members at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital became Demetra's biggest supporters.
"I would come to work and have to leave and go have chemotherapy so they were really supportive of that," said Holcomb.
Three years later, Demetra is cancer free and raising money for cancer patients as a team member with the "Memorial magic makers."
"I try to give them encouragement and let them know that I'm a survivor and anything is possible. There's always hope," said Holcomb.
The magic makers participated in this year's relay for life, raising close to $5,000 to assist patients with treatment, and other expenses.
"It's a good feeling to be able to help and give to other people that are in need because people gave me and helped me when I was in need," said Holcomb.
Cancer never sleeps and neither do relay participants, pulling an all-nighter with a team representative on the track at all times.
"It's just really important for the survivors and to family who lost someone for this fight," said Duckett.
Demetra is celebrating life with her biggest fans by her side.
"Words can't even say how thankful I am to them and to God. It is a blessing. I didn't think I would be here today," said Demetra.
For those still waging war against the disease, this young cancer survivor stands strong to offer hope for tomorrow.
The relay was held at the Nacogdoches Expo Center and lasted from 7 pm Friday until 7 am this morning. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society to help cancer patients with treatments, gas cards, wigs and other expenses.