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Teen's story gives Relay for Life event a big lift

Each of the 20 or so bands on 15-year-old Margaret Beckum's left wrist tells a story.

The Thomson High School student, who turned 15 two weeks ago, told a Thomson Elementary School crowd Friday that her cancer is in remission after recent treatment.

She spoke with excitement and quickly before she and her parents left the Relay for Life fundraiser to travel to Rutledge, Ga., for a Share and Care Weekend at Camp Twin Lakes, sponsored by Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center.

Margaret said each band represents one of the cancer patients she has met during her treatment.

Called by Principal Anita Cummings to address the Dinner and a Show audience, Margaret told of her weekend plans. Her report on her health drew a round loud of applause from the audience.

"Shall I show my hair?" Margaret asked her mother, Jenifer Beckum, as she posed for a family photo on her way out of the cafeteria.

She then took off her head covering and proudly smiled and flashed the wristbands.

Mrs. Beckum is the math coach at Thomson Elementary.

About 200 people turned out for the $4 dinner of hot dogs and beans as the school launched its Relay for Life fundraising campaign for 2011.

"She's going to be our reason to relay this year," said Lisa Sellers, a second-grade teacher and Thomson Elementary's team captain.

Food and supplies were donated by businesses and staff, she said. Walmart donated a $100 gift card toward expenses. Thomson Packing donated the hot dogs. "So everything we make tonight will go directly to Relay," Ms. Sellers said.

Margaret's father, Bill Beckum, said the family learned the good news about her health Thursday. "We were expecting that, but it's great to hear," he said.

Mr. Beckum, the youth apprentice coordinator at Thomson High School, said his daughter was receiving radiation and chemotherapy until around Christmas. He said no further scans will be needed until April and he hopes for six months after that.

Margaret's Hodgkin's lymphoma was diagnosed in July.



Web posted on Thursday, February 03, 2011













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