Teams raise money at Relay for Life event

Last year, friends and family of Eve Brogger raced around Riverside Park in a benefit to lend support to the 8-year-old who was in the initial stages of her battle with cancer.

Eve wasn't able to run along with them - she wasn't feeling well that day - but she gleefully stood by and smiled at everyone who passed by.

Eve will be cancer free an entire year in June, and to celebrate, she raced around the VISD track Friday night during the Relay For Life of Victoria County Survivor's Reception.

Hundreds of survivors and their supporters walked laps around the track from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday. The annual event culminates the hard work put in by team supporters who raise money for the American Cancer Society throughout the year, said organization specialist Keisha Smith.

To date, Smith said teams have raised about $90,000, and she expects another $25,000 to $40,000 to be raised at the event. Teams and supporters such as TDECU and Rolling For a Cure lined the track in tents and provided entertainment and treats to continually raise money for the cause that afflicts 1.6 million new people every year.

Eve was the youngest cancer survivor honored Friday night at the event.

Her father - Victoria police officer David Brogger - said he's amazed at the support his family has received from the community.

When Eve was in the hospital and the family was traveling back and forth from Houston for treatment, David and Ann Brogger said old friends, new friends and even strangers filled their refrigerator with casseroles.

Holy Family Church had a benefit to raise money to help with medical costs, and Victoria Harley-Davidson hosted the "Live to Ride, Ride to Give Blood" drive to garner blood units to benefit Eve.

Dressed in a purple "Finish the Fight" T-shirt, Eve thanked the community, her parents and her little sister, Lila, for their continued support.

Earlier in the week, one of the other survivors told Eve she was celebrating 45 years of being cancer free.

"Eve just lit up," her mom said. "Everyone knows someone who died of cancer" but to hear from someone who survived that long is the true message she said her family "wanted to hear."

Today, life for Eve is "normal," as her parents describe it. She is a Girl Scout, she gets great grades in school - she loves spelling and art - and at the end of the day, she's happy simply pushing her little sister on a tree swing in their front yard.

"I don't think it's going to come back," Ann Brogger said, although she admits she holds her breath just thinking about it. But for her, a strong faith in God has helped get her through the past year. "One day, you realize that you can't control it, and you have to believe someone is, and knowing that brings a sense of peace."