ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - An administrative assistant with DLA Distribution Anniston has been chosen as the honorary chairperson of Calhoun County's 2011 Relay for Life.

Teresa Smith said she began working with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and other charity fundraisers like Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure about 10 years ago when she learned she had breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy in December 2000 and has been cancer-free ever since.

"It's an honor for me," said Smith about being selected as honorary chairperson. "Relay is so close to my heart."

ACS development representative Brooke Mann said the Calhoun County Relay for Life helps cancer patients and survivors in Northeast Alabama, and having Smith on board as the honorary chairperson helps put a local face on the campaign.

"The honorary chair is always someone local. Teresa has a compelling story, and we knew that she was a strong supporter of ACS and a great public speaker who could motivate others to get on board with this cause," said Mann.

Relay for Life teams are working now to raise money that will fund cancer research, provide prevention and early detection information and improve the quality of life for cancer patients. The types of fundraisers conducted include bake sales, road blocks, spaghetti or barbecue dinners and the sale of T-shirts and candles.

"The teams are so creative. They come up with the greatest, most successful fundraisers. That passion they have for finding a cure, they use that passion to come up with some exciting ways to raise money," said Mann.

The Relay finale for Calhoun County is a community event scheduled for May 6 at McClellan's soccer complex. This event celebrates the courage of cancer victims and survivors and recognizes the teams that have worked hard to raise money in the fight against cancer.

Smith said though she had supported many different causes when asked, she wishes she had been involved with the ACS before her cancer diagnosis. "But sometimes we really don't think about it until it affects us personally."

"Cancer can hit anyone at any time," said Smith. "Whenever I hear of someone who has cancer, I feel the need to reach out to them and I make sure that I do."

Smith credits her recovery to God, the doctors who have treated her and the support of her family and friends.

Smith's high school classmate and lifelong friend Lesia Vandiver said she wasn't going to let Smith battle cancer alone. "When Teresa was diagnosed with breast cancer, it brought a new meaning to our friendship. I looked at my friend as the sister I never had," said Vandiver.

Vandiver supports Smith's fundraising group, Christians for a Cure, by participating in the Susan G. Komen and Relay for Life races.

"It's a great honor to walk with the men and women who have fought and won their battle with cancer," Vandiver said.

As part her honorary chairperson 'duties,' Smith recently helped filmed a television commercial promoting Relay for Life and the chance to "create a world with less cancer and more birthdays." Smith said the commercial is expected to begin airing this week on Cable One's Channel 2.

"Everybody has been so nice; I've meet so many wonderful people who do so much for cancer treatment and research," said Smith.

"Teresa is a picture of faith," said Vandiver.