By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (April 26, 2016) – It’s a dreadful disease. There will be an estimated 1.68 million new cancer cases diagnosed and and 596,000 cancer-related deaths in the United States this year.
That’s why communities relay. Relay For Life honors cancer survivors, their caregivers and serves a front line against the disease by raising funds and providing hope. Relay events across the nation raise more than $400 million annually, and the American Cancer Society invests the funds in groundbreaking cancer research while providing free information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers, according to relay.acsevents.org.
Relay For Life Erath County is set for 6 p.m. – 12 a.m. Friday, May 13, at City Hall at City Limits.
It’s the second consecutive year the fund-raising event will be held indoors. In 2015, inclement weather – heavy rainfall – led organizers to relocate from the track at Lem Brock Field to the gymnasium at Faith Lutheran Church. While Relay For Life is traditionally held outdoors, a survey of last year’s participants led organizers to seek a larger indoor venue.
“Oddly enough, people really enjoyed it,” event coordinator Shelley Gilliland said. “Participants said they were able to interact more and socialize and mingle with other teams. We need a larger location, and VW Stephens was kind enough to donate City Hall at City Limits for this year’s event.”
Aside from location, Gilliland said Relay For Life Erath County promises everything found at past events and more. The ‘track,’ lined with luminarias that honor survivors and shine in memory of individuals who lost their battle with cancer will be set up at the perimeter of the banquet hall.
A survivor dinner will be held in adjoining room and Relay will kickoff with the traditional survivor and caregiver laps.
The ‘Mr. Relay’ Pageant will begin with the contestants making laps around the track and collecting donations in their evening gowns at 7:30 p.m. The pageant will also allow contestants to show off their talents.
The luminaria ceremony will be held at about 9 p.m. Meanwhile, fun and games for children and adults will be had throughout the night, and a live DJ will serve as master of ceremonies, keeping the event lively.
Gilliland said the 2016 team roster already includes more than 250 individuals on 20 teams, but the number could increase. She said teams are welcome to organize any time prior to the event date, and individual team members are encouraged to raise at least $100 through pledges or fundraisers.
“Our goal is to raise $73,000,” Gilliland said, adding teams have raised about $53,000 to date, and additional funding will be raised prior to May 13 and on the night of the event.
In a matter of days, the estimated total jumped by about $10,000, according to Gilliland.
“Larry Joe and Sherry Taylor allow Relay teams to sell programs at the Texas Music Festival and this year’s festival brought us $5,141 in program sales,” she said. “There has also been other funds turned in from various sources.”
During the event, funds can be raised by selling baked goods or refreshments, team t-shirts, glow sticks and blow-up toys for the kids or other goods or trinkets.
“Luminarias are an easy way to raise money,” Gilliland said. “The are $5 and can be purchased on the night of the event or on the Relay For Life Erath County website.”
To take part in the event, survivors are encouraged to call Gilliland at (254) 967-0192 or register online at relayforlife.org/erathcotx, where information on the various ways to donate and a payment portal can also be found.
Follow Relay For Life Erath County on Facebook at facebook.com/Relay-For-Life-Erath-County-168223123191201/?fref=ts
“This is a great community event for a great cause,” Gilliland said. “We all know someone who has been – or will be – affected by cancer and that is why we come together and relay.”
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