The Marshall County Relay For Life raised close to $60,000 to assist the American Cancer Society in its fight to save lives from cancer.
The annual Relay, a time of celebration and remembrance, began last Friday at 6 p.m. and ended Saturday at 6 a.m. at Sam Coopwood Park.
The goal this year is $70,000, and the collections continue through August 31, according to Relay committee co-chair Connie Mason.
The Big Star Baggers won two awards out of three this year. They raised the most money and had the most members on site at 6 a.m. Saturday – the Sunrise Award.
Best Campsite went to Beta Sigma Phi Inc., the Beta Babes.
Committee member Shirley Byers opened the 12-hour event by repeating these words – “Hope has no curfew. Cancer does not sleep.”
There was lots of entertainment during the evening. A sampling follows.
Claire Liddy sang the National Anthem. David Hinshaw sang country music, and Carol Jean Taylor was back again this year with “Wind Beneath My Wings,” a song made popular by soloist Bette Midler and Lou Rawls and others. Lyrics were written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley.
Donna Brunetti sang “Summertime,” an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera, “Porgy and Bess.”
“Gospel Station One,” a group of area firemen, performed at this year’s Relay. The HIMs, an a cappella gospel group, entertained. The Wilson sisters, Charity and Rhonda, also sang.
Dance performances were provided by Jazzy’s Dance Academy and the Holly Springs Cheer and Dance Team.
The first Holly Springs Relay was held in 2000, according to Mason.
A personal note
Survivor Beth Breithaupt has been a volunteer with the Relay for years, helping create a team after covering a kick-off meeting for the newspaper. As a new survivor, this year’s Relay meant more to her than ever, she said, attributing her healing to God.
Breithaupt started working with the Relay committee to help raise money through The South Reporter and her sorority, Beta Sigma Phi Inc. She has been a proofreader and advertising sales representative with the newspaper for many years.
Her expertise in fund-raising has been baking. She also has helped her teams with campsite design.
Breithaupt has undergone two surgeries and one series of chemotherapy in her battle against cancer.
Scott Beggs, CEO of American Pacific, which sponsors the Killer Kudzu 5K run each year, said his company raised about $700 this year and about $600 last year.
But, the Relay is more about health than dollars raised for cancer research, he said. American Pacific has lost four employees to cancer, Beggs said.
“Like everyone else, we have been affected by cancer,” he said. “We’ve lost employees to cancer; we’ve lost loved ones to cancer. I think it is inspiring to see the whole community get behind this event. It is the one unifying event for the community to challenge an adversary that affects everyone. It’s so beautiful to see everyone out there.”
Every year the Relay gets better, he said.
American Pacific is getting into the wellness business, he said.
“This year, our company is embracing wellness,” he said. “Employees can work flexible hours as long as the flex hours are around an exercise program.”
The company has added incentives to help employees stay healthier – reimburses people for health club memberships; discounts for health insurance for conditions that would need medication if the employee stays healthy; provides a treadmill in house; pulled out vending machines; and will provided an inside walking track.
“The Relay For Life is a physical activity, and if we could move this needle in Holly Springs like in other parts of the country it would be good,” Beggs said.
Beggs said lots of communities enjoy and promote healthy lifestyles, including running. A vigorous walk or run is about equally good in promoting health, he said.
Beggs is a runner who has been sidelined somewhat but hopes to get back out there. People who walk are less likely to get injuries, he said.
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