Relay For Life provides overnight fun

Katy Murray
Managing Editor

   The Relay For Life will be held April 29-30 from 6 p.m. - 6 a.m. at the Cotton Boll Stadium. The fun-filled overnight event will raise money for the American Cancer Society, celebrate survivorship and remember those who lost their lives to cancer.

   By the end of 2005, Relay For Life events will be held in more than 20 countries around the world. Over 3 million Americans participate every year including the community of Drew County. According to Gay Pace, Relay For Life media chair, this year 11 teams have already registered to participate

   “We usually have 50 survivors and about 200-250 walkers who participate,” Pace said.

   The registration deadline for this year has officially elapsed but Pace assured that people can still sign-up to participate or be a sponsor. The registration fee costs $10 and there must be at least 10 members to form a team. A minimum of $100 must be raised per team member to receive a Relay For Life T-shirt.

   The event agenda consists of the following:

                    Opening ceremony 6:15 p.m.

                    Survivors lap 6:30 p.m.

                    Care givers lap 6:45 p.m.

                    Team lap 9 p.m.

                    Luminary ceremony 5:30 a.m.

                    Award ceremony and closing 5:55 a.m.

   The monetary goal for the 2005 Relay For Life has yet to be determined but last year they did meet their goal of $30,000. While fund-raising, the event also offers a variety of other activities that continue throughout the night.

   “There will be a play area for kids with face-painting, dancing and other games,” Pace said.

   She noted this year's theme will be “Celebration” to signify 20 years of Relay For Life. Justin Weis, a student at Henderson college, will be the Master of Ceremonies and he plans to concentrate on the 1980s theme as he motivates the walkers throughout the event.

   “When it’s one or two in the morning you need that motivation,” said Letica Adams, captain of the University of Arkansas at Monticello team.

   This year not only marks a celebration of 20 years for the event nationally, but also the 10th year for Drew County and the ninth year for UAM as the location. Along with hosting, UAM boasts many teams on campus who contribute to the fund-raising.

   For example Adams’ team will sell purple Relay For Life car magnets for a contribution of $5 or more. The Ambassadors, who also have a team in the event, have been conducting a fund-raiser encouraging people to donate money or else they could be “flushed” or “egged” -- meaning the team may leave either a life-sized pink toilet or a bunch of Easter eggs on one’s front lawn.

   “Last year the Ambassadors raised the most money and won the team spirit award,” Pace said. “This year with their ‘flushed or egged’ fund-raiser they can go to six houses a night, so watch out.”

   In the community outside of UAM many other groups have been involved as well. For example Monticello Elementary School started their “Change for Cure” campaign this week. They encourage parents to empty their pocket change and let their children bring the money to school. This fund-raiser will continue until the event.

   Another popular activity which raises money includes the Luminary ceremony. During the event candles will be lit to honor cancer survivors and those who have not survived their battle with cancer. Luminary bags can be purchased for $10 from Kay Crook, who works at the Fred J. Taylor Library and Technology Center. She can be contacted at (870) 460-1580.

   “If you have never been to the Relay For Life, come to the Luminary ceremony,” Pace said. “It’s beautiful; you’ll definitely come back the next year.”

   She noted the Survivor walk provides another moving experience. During the 5-10 minute lap, the cancer survivors walk as a group around the track. The event honors them and at the end they all release balloons.

   Many members of the UAM and Drew County community participate in the Relay For Life. Pace said Chancellor Jack Lassiter and his wife have been extremely supportive of the cause.

   “We still want to get more of the college kids involved, she said.

   According to www.cancer.org, the Relay For Life exists to represent the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

  To register for the Relay For Life contact Pace at (870) 460-1140. The event chair, Teresa Bostain, can also be contacted at (870) 367-2088.

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The Voice, 2005
Revised 050401 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_17/relay.htm