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‘Team Toni’ shows spirit of citizens

Lawrence Countians have always stood out for their compassion and community spirit in times of need, but “Team Toni” may have taken that show of love to unprecedented levels.

That was the name given to the grassroots community effort that had hundreds of pink-clad citizens lining the streets in West Virginia and Ohio Tuesday as a show of support for a young woman who is facing some significant challenges.

Toni is a 23-year-old Chesapeake woman in the fight of her life. More precisely, she is in a fight for her life.

Toni has been battling cancer for several years but recently learned that doctors believe it is untreatable and she may have just a few months left on this Earth. Her friends and family say this has done nothing to diminish her positive attitude and enthusiasm for life, a true testimony to the strength of the human spirit and what can be accomplished with the right approach.

Doctors have been wrong before. Miracles of faith prevail when science does not. But the outcome won’t change who Toni is and the impact she has had on others.

Former college basketball coach Jim Valvano is often remembered for dancing around the court after his underdog team won a national championship. But Valvano’s true legacy is the work he did in creating a foundation for cancer research and the words he used to inspire millions.

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities,” he said. “ It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Those words perfectly sum up Toni Black and her battle that has touched the hearts of an entire community.