TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Community

March 30, 2009

Crowning achievement

Relay for Life Pageant raises $3,000 for charity

By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor

The first annual Relay for Life Pageant held at Corbin High School raised more than $3,000 for the American Cancer Society and garnered 56 contestants from newborns to young adults.

One of the highlights of the event was the crowning of 8-year-old Savannah Dinkins as the 2009 Relay for Life Queen. Savannah, the only contestant who was a cancer survivor, has been in remission for the past four years after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer.

Savannah is the daughter of Chris and Erika Dinkins of Corbin, and her parents were worried about their shy daughter’s first pageant experience. When organizers Michelle and Kayla Felts learned that Savannah was the only cancer survivor in the pageant, they named her the 2009 Relay for Life Queen and presented her with a special crown and sash.

“I think it was a surprise to her,” Michelle said. “...I think she was excited.”

Other cancer survivors who were friends or relatives of contestants were also honored on stage. Michelle said that the mother of Taylor Hubbard, who took top honors in the teen division for ages 13-16, has been diagnosed with cancer.

The pageant was the brainchild of Michelle’s 16-year-old daughter Kayla, who’s been participating in pageants herself for years.

“We just happened to be at the walk last year and my daughter does pageants,” Michelle said in an earlier interview, “and it just kind of touched her being at the walk last year, and she decided she wanted to be a part of the Relay for Life.”

A week before Saturday’s event, Michelle had only four contestants.

“At that point, I was really wondering if it was going to be worth doing,” she said, but people signed up in the final days of registration, and the number of contestants grew to 56.

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