Walking for a cure

By Marielena Balouris | mbalouris@wtajtv.com

Published 06/10 2016 11:31PM

Updated 06/10 2016 11:31PM

People were in and out of Mansion Park in Altoona all day and night for the 22nd annual Central Blair Relay for Life. 
 
The event was filled with a lot of walking and filled with a lot of hope. 
 
"Just to see all the people here for one reason is tremendous," said Tim Behe, who was diagnosed with lymphoma about two years ago.  He said, "When I found out I had cancer, it rocked my world, it rocked my family's world."
 
Behe is a 3rd grade teacher at Juniata Elementary School in the Altoona Area School District.  There, the students and teachers participated in their own version of Relay for Life, which helped him through his battle with cancer.
 
"It turned out to be probably one of the best years of my life because I got to see people like this, how many people do care about you and help you along in a difficult time," said Behe. 
 
This is Behe's second year at Relay for Life and the weekend's "ambassador," Zhane Settlemyer,  is one of his future students.  She carried the torch into the stadium this morning and addressed the crowd. 
 
"I told them my name and I tell them thank you for coming out," said Zhane.  Even though Zhane was all smiles during the weekend, her journey has been filled with many challenges. 
 
Missy Settlemyer, Zhane's Mom, said, "It has been very, very difficult and many, many ups and downs.  She is truly the strongest and bravest little girl I know."  Zhane is in remission and will be heading back to school in the fall.  Behe said he's looking forward to having her in his class. 
 
And now, they've both joined a community of survivors who all shared special moments during the survivors walk and the luminary ceremony.
 
Sue Boland, Event lead for Relay 2016, said, "We are winning this battle and we just have to keep going until the battle is done and we won't stop."
 
The walkers at Relay for Life will be out until 11am on Saturday. Their goal is to raise more than $164,500.

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