Thursday, June 5, 2008
Relay for Life kicks off June 13
By SUE WATSON
Less than two weeks is left to finalize camping and cooking plans for Marshall County’s ninth Relay For Life, held again this year on the football field at Sam Coopwood Park in Holly Springs.
The event draws the community together to encourage those who are in the battle with cancer to keep hope, to remember those who have touched lives and to honor those who lost their life to cancer.
A project of the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life sets aside a full 24 hours to celebrate life and honor others through fellowship, fun, food, song, prayer, and games. The event kicks off Friday, June 13, at 6 p.m. with the survivor’s lap. Survivors take the first lap and team members make the rest during an all--night marathon of walking and talking and honoring and remembering.
All team proceeds go to assist those who are being treated for cancer with transportation and other needs while in therapy and for research that hopefully will turn up causes and additional treatments for cancer.
This year’s goal is to raise $63,000 in Marshall County.
This year’s relay chairman is Gracie Echols. She encourages everyone to buy a luminaria in honor of anyone with cancer or anyone who lost the battle. The luminaria are available at the levels of $10, $25 and $50. The names of those remembered or honored are read the evening of the Relay.
Connie Mason asks for as many people as possible to purchase their luminaria in advance of the relay. This helps prepare for the number of paper bags and candles.
Mason can be reached at City Hall in Holly Springs (662-252-4652, extension 1204).
Echols encourages anyone who does not have a team to join one and come out for the fun. To join a team, contact Jacqueline Mora (662-252-1582, extension 147).
Jacqueline is also selling purple bows for the event. They cost $10.
The Relay for Life committee is also encouraging former business sponsors, who are not sponsoring teams this year, to help sponsor the event. The sponsorships help pay for the cost of production of the event, Echols said.
Over 20 teams have signed up this year.
The relay was started in Marshall County in 1999, according to Mason, who has been working with the event since its inception in the county and has served three years as chairman.
Relay participation has been more closely tied with Holly Springs business sponsors, she said. In the beginning it was organized by the medical people, and doctors and nurses were involved, Mason recalled. All the local banks have participated either directly with teams or through bank employees serving on committees or helping out with certain tasks like bank night, she said.
The grocery stores have a big involvement with Big Star Baggers often ranking first or close to first in money raised. Parker Hannifin has been a big fan of the relay and raises money year around.
In more recent years, churches have participated heavily in team competition, Mason said.
“People were good to me when I was chairperson,” Mason said. “My co-workers at city hall helped out; the fire workers helped; George Humphreys with the utility department hooked up the lights and electricity; the street department moved the bleachers.”
Ray Von Autry and WKRA radio and Rust College radio, WURC-FM, have helped set up the sound system many times and publicized the event.
“The city has always been good to donate the use of the field,” Mason said.
And relay was such a success, the American Cancer Society designated Holly Springs as a Relay For Life community because of its documentation and follow through, Mason said.
Then there are the survivors who turn out to walk and celebrate life. The closeness of the survivors is best observed before the survivor’s lap when each survivor gets a ribbon and medallion.
Mason said it is the one time of the year when the whole community comes together as a family - the young, the old, organizations and churches, to participate in the music, the walking, the playfulness and sharing of food.
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