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People walk to honor friend, loved one

When Leigh Ward Abrams died of cancer at the age of 35 on July 29, 2008, her family was devastated. Now, her family is taking that tragedy and turning it into something that can benefit other people.

On Sunday, Abrams’ father, Jimbo Ward; her sons, Ward and Will; and friends Teila Lee, Anna Katherine Freeman and Ellen Singleton made a walk from the Marengo Nursing Home in Linden to the West Alabama Radio offices in Demopolis to raise awareness of cancer and to raise funds for the Marengo County Relay for Life.

The walk went up Ala. Highway 28 to Jefferson Road, a 14.6-mile journey that lasted five hours.

“It was fun,” said Singleton. “We did a lot of laughing!”

Ward said the walkers had help along the way.

“Everybody was so nice, bringing us water,” Jimbo Ward said. “Somebody put up signs to encourage us. I don’t know who that was, but I want to thank them.”

“This is a good idea for a good cause,” said Abrams’ widower, Kevin Abrams. “Jimbo knows everybody, so there’s no telling how much money they raised. It doesn’t matter where you go; he knows everybody! My aunt and uncle, Warren and Billy Traeger, were in Boston, Mass., they went into a store and started talking with somebody. They asked, ‘Where are you from?’ and Billy said, ‘Demopolis,’ and they said, ‘Do you know Jimbo Ward?’ The same thing happened in Colorado.”

Ward said he will know how much money the walk raised on Friday night, when it is turned in at the Marengo County Relay for Life at the River Field in Demopolis.