Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

Community spirit at Relay

Once again The South Reporter enjoyed its participation in the Marshall County’s Relay for Life.

The June 10 event in Holly Springs was successful, raising more than $40,000 to help the battle against cancer.

Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of your American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people gather at Sam Coopwood Park and take turns walking.

Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

We all heard familiar names when the announcers read the names of those who were remembered through the purchase of luminaries, and also the names of survivors. There were tears — some of sadness and some of joy.

Cancer has hit every family everywhere. It has affected us all.

An early downpour of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of organizers and teams. All huddled under a tent for a short period, before the blue skies returned and the temperature and humidity (thank goodness) dropped.

We used tablecloths to keep our cotton candy machine, other items and ourselves as dry as possible during the showers.

We sold cotton candy for $1. We almost recovered our expenses, but that’s beside the point. We had fun, and the youngsters, in particular, loved it. I saw a few adults buying the sticky stuff, too, and some even repeat customers.

We all tried our hand at operating the cotton candy machine. But my wife Pam proved to be the cotton-candy-making guru. Several folks told Pam she missed her calling, maybe she needed to hit the carnival/festival routes.

There was loads of good food at the event. I had trouble picking what I wanted to eat, and ended up sampling from several tents, including hamburger, hot dog and barbecue. In other words, I ate too much.

Other activities included entertainment, a fire department obstacle course and games for the youngsters.

Relay for Life is fun — but most importantly it’s for cancer victims. That’s why the money is raised; that’s why we’re all there.

But there’s another wonderful thing about Marshall County’s Relay for Life, and that’s the community unity. It brings us all together. It’s a true community event that exemplifies true community spirit.

It just goes to show you that when we all pull together, lots of good can be accomplished.

My 3-year-old Erin had the most fun of anyone, I believe. She played and played and played with Linda Jones’ granddaughter, Merideth. Erin is a night owl. We almost have to fight her to get her to sleep each night.

At 11:15 that Friday night, she was running across the football field at Sam Coopwood Park, and she didn’t even fall asleep on the way home at about 11:45.

Emma and Andy helped in the tent and had lots of fun, too. It’s a family atmosphere.

There were 24 teams in this year’s Relay for Life. The goal is to grow the participation and the money raised each year.

Here’s hoping more and more people in our community get involved.

The planning and fund raising goes on practically all year long. If you want to help, call Connie Mason at Holly Springs City Hall.

And be sure and be on the lookout for the next South Reporter bake sale.

That’s how we raised our money this year, and the ladies here at the office put a lot of work into the success of the bake sale and the success of the Relay for Life.

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