By: Brooke Cordle
Carter County Times
This Saturday, September 17, Relay For Life will hold their 27th relay event, at Olive Hill’s Shriner’s Park. The event is free to attend!
After taking a two year break due to Covid, the nonprofit hopes to make a huge return this year. While the pandemic has directly affected their turnout with only 12 teams registered so far, whereas they’ve had upwards of 30 in the past, the organization has clear goals set for the money they hope to raise through sponsorships and donations. During the 2021 year, though no event was held, Relay For Life still managed to raise $83,000. This year, their goal is to achieve $85,000, a number that they believe sounds more than achievable given last year’s donations. Although the relay takes place this Saturday, Relay For Life has until the end of the year to turn in their earnings to the American Cancer Society.
Event registration starts at 4 p.m. and runs until the Survivor/Recognition Walk at 6 p.m.
“Registration at 4pm ensures that those individuals have an opportunity for their name to be read and honored,” event organizer Linda Arnett said.
A Walk in Memory/Honor of Loved Ones is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
“This is a new feature of the relay event that will allow other members in attendance to write down the names of family or friends who they’re walking for,” she said.
Those walks are followed by a concert from enthusiastic relay supporter George Molton from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., and a luminary walk and sky lantern release.
“Once the sun has set, participants will be given the opportunity to write names on lanterns to set off in the sky, which will mark the beginning of the luminary walk; a beautiful conclusion to the event,” Arnett said.
A silent auction will take place throughout the event.
Food trucks from Hillbilly Hibachi, Weiner Shack, and Holy Rollers will also be available at the relay, in addition to inflatables for children.
Although the event lasts from 4 – 10 p.m., participants are more than welcome to come and stay as long as comfortable. In the past, Arnett explained, relays would last all day and night, but in recent years they’ve tried to set a tighter schedule to be more accessible to and suit the needs of individuals.
More emphasis has been placed on the purpose of the walk and the survivors and fighters of cancer in attendance, she said. This allows for a sense of community, and it gives those who’ve fought and survived cancer the opportunity to commune and share their stories.
County officials and anyone running for election have been encouraged to attend as well, with organizers calling it “Campaigning for a Cure.”
“Anyone in the election can help to raise money while they simultaneously advertise their own campaign, making it a mutually beneficial event for those running and Relay For Life,” Arnett said.
In addition to the advertisements, Relay For Life has a prize for whoever raises the most money by the end of the night.
Prior to Covid, the American Cancer Society had numerous offices throughout the county that would help Relay For Life in advertisements, including passing out t-shirts and spreading awareness about the cause. Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which helps provide funds for a multitude of cancer research projects, including education, advocacy, testing for new medications and surgeries, and providing grants to the researchers. Despite Covid’s significant hit on the relay, Relay For Life continues to provide the necessary finance for medical advancement.
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