Ready for Relay

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; In just a few short days the same field used to host some of the best barbecue competitors in the state and the region will be transformed into a healing place as Marengo County Relay for Life kicks off at 6 p.m. on April 25 at River Field.

For the last several months teams have been hard at work coming up with creative ways to raise funds for the event, where all the proceeds go to benefit much-needed cancer research. The fundraising goal for the entire county is set at $68,932, which is increased from last year&8217;s earnings of more than $66,000.

Wendy Brown, chairman for the event, said she is positive the 20 fundraising teams and the community will reach their goal. She also said Friday night is a time for people who have been touched by the effects of cancer to come together for a common goal.

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This sentiment ties in perfectly with the three-pronged theme for Relay for Life this year: remember, celebrate and fight back.

The remember part of the equation is honored by the display of luminaria, which symbolizes the hope and courage of those who fought cancer and are still fighting cancer. At 9 p.m. on Friday each of the luminaria that have been decorated will be lit to honor those associated with cancer. Luminaria can be purchased for a minimum donation of $5 in advance by contacting Cindy Hansard at 334-289-6281 or at the Relay event.

Celebration is done with events like the survivor lap of the walk, which will continue throughout the course of the evening. The event planners also have a special survivor dinner set up, where those who have lived through the cancer experience can come together and share their stories. For more information on the survivor dinner, which starts at 5 p.m., call Melissa King at 334-287-2816.

New this year is the Fight Back ceremony, which allows everyone touched by cancer and those who desperately want to put an end to the disease to make a commitment to save lives by taking up the fight. This element of Relay for Life will begin at 9:30 p.m.

The theme of this year&8217;s Relay For Life is &8220;Songs of Cancer,&8221; and each team will use this theme as a way to adorn their booths, which will be set up around the Relay for Life walking track at River Field.

In addition to performances by local talent Mitzi Gates of Linden, and Drew Tucker and Evan Spence of Demopolis, special games and contests will be going on during the rest of the event.

According to Jennifer Hallman, community representative for Marengo County Relay for Life, more than 11 million cancer survivors are living today. This year in the United States, an estimated 1.3 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. Additionally, more than 1,500 people will die of cancer each day.

In case of rain, the event will be moved to Theo Ratliff Activity Center in Demopolis.

For more information, please call Jennifer Hallman at 205-342-2007 or Wendy Brown at 334-289-4994.