Two-year-old Lidia Buttrick never met her Paw Paw, Robin Hendricks, but she still knows him.
Robin died of renal cancer in October 2014, but his family keeps his memory alive by continuing his work in the community and honoring him at Relay for Life every year, said his widow, Marie Hendricks.
Before Robin passed away, the family supported the cause monetarily and on occasion joined their church in cooking and serving food at the event. The meaning of the Relay for Life changed drastically when he turned 50 and received his first diagnose of cancer.
"He was diagnosed with meta cell lymphoma, and he beat it," Marie said.
He became a survivor and for eight years walked the track for the survivor's loop during Relay. Now, his family, including children, Kelly Hendricks and Amy Buttrick, lights luminaries to honor his memory.
Tonight Cleveland County Relay for Life will be at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds to continue raising money to find a cure. The American Cancer Society, which runs Relay for Life, has invested more than $4.5 billion in research since 1946, and has funded more than 20,000 scientists at more than 1,000 institutions nationwide to find the cure.
The event hosts a survivors reception, survivors walk, booths from local organizations and luminaries for people to honor those who have passed.
"We light a luminary in Robin's memory. What's really special is to walk around and see so many more in memory of Robin," Marie said.
The evening has taken another special turn for their daughter, Amy, as two of her sons will work the booth for Fallston Elementary.
"Fallston Elementary has been really active in raising money. They've had coin wars, sold T-shirts and suckers for Valentine's Day," Amy said.
Robin was active in the community, and his family has aimed to keep that spirit alive by helping organizations he held dear, including being on the board of directors for the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department, the board of directors for the Don Gibson and serving barbecue at Relay for Life.
"Robin was involved in everything. He believed in community," Marie said. "He was one of the hardest working men in this community."
Marie will be serving the food this year.
She hopes her husband's story and her family's story inspires people to keep giving to the cause.
"He fought hard for a long time, and he always said, 'There's a cure for cancer right around the corner,'" Marie said.
Joyce Orlando can be reached at 704-669-3341 or find her on Twitter @Star_J_Orlando.