Each attendee received a shirt to for annual Monroe County Relay for Life, which is scheduled from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Monroe County Courthouse Square.

Monroe County Cancer Supporters is on target to exceed 2017.

That means more people are being diagnosed with cancer, with more patients to assist. But is also means there are more opportunities to help patients survive cancer.

Nearly 100 cancer survivors and their caregivers gathered Sunday at the Paris Community Center for an annual lunch celebrating survival from the dreaded disease. The event is held each year to begin the week of Monroe County’s Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research.

“This luncheon is to honor you today. I want you survivors to look around at the faces here today,” said Donna Morgan, who organizes the lunch. “You may not know all the names, but you will remember their faces. These are the faces who have walked down the same road to you have. And this is my reason for wanting to start these luncheons.”

Morgan said that Sunday’s attendance was the most yet. She had reservations from 63 cancer survivors, with the balance of those attending were either family members or caregivers.

Each attendee received a shirt to for annual Monroe County Relay for Life, which is scheduled from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Monroe County Courthouse Square. There were also a number of door prizes.

But the lunch was primarily focused on the fight against cancer or more to the point, survival.

Monroe County Cancer Supporters was founded in 2009 with a simple goal. Monroe County residents with a new cancer diagnosis can receive a check for $1,100 to help with expenses while fighting this disease. There is no means test for the money.

“They just showed up at my door with a check when I was diagnosed with cancer,” said Rose Kizer, who has been battling breast cancer since 2013. “I had been giving to Cancer Supporters for years and told the person at the door that I did not need to the money, but she insisted.”

Kizer, who owned the Paris Pharmacy with her late husband, Howard, for 35 years, is one of 336 patients who — as of March — have received a total of $420,100 in support over the eight years since the founding of Monroe County Cancer Supporters.

A major theme of Sunday’s lunch was the celebrate long-term survival.

“Today, you it here with survivors who have been cancer free – 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years,” Morgan said. “So for you young survivors, you are not alone. Let these ladies and gentlemen inspire you, like they do me.”