What is Relay for Life?

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One of the first things my wife, Shelia, became involved with when she got settled here in Demopolis was Relay for Life. When asked if she would direct the luminary committee, she jumped at the chance. She had worked with the luminary committee for the Murray-Calloway County Relay for Life where we came from in Murray, Ky., for the last two years and had worked with Relay for Life for 10 years altogether.

Luminaries are those candlelit bags with the names of a loved one written on them to be honored during Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is the national fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society for cancer research and treatment. Community members form fund-raising teams and find ways to raise money before the big day. They also hold fund-raisers during the Relay for Life event itself, which will be Friday, April 24, in Demopolis.

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In Murray, it begins Friday evening at the university’s football stadium and goes overnight into the next morning. There is a parade of cancer survivors, and they use some luminaries to spell out the word “Hope” in the bleachers. Hundreds of people walk on the track that encircles our football field.

When we heard that the Relay for Life in Demopolis was going to last as late as midnight this year, we knew that things are a little different down here.

Shelia was used to staying up all night with her team, walking the track, playing the games that some teams used as fund-raisers or helping to run her team’s concession stand or whatever they were doing that year.

I couldn’t take part because we would always have a home baseball game that Saturday, but I would go meet her at the football stadium (it was next to the baseball field) that morning as she was on her way home and I was on my way to working a Saturday double-header.

I would still stay with her until around midnight that Friday night, and it was a lot of fun.

If you haven’t taken part in a Relay for Life before, read about it or ask somebody about it. Form teams and help raise money for the American Cancer Society through bake sales, car washes or whatever you can think of.

Try to make the Marengo County Relay for Life the best in west Alabama. It’s fun, it’s for a good cause and you will feel like a part of the cure.