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Committee plans for ‘relay’ event

By Staff | Jan 19, 2011

“Happily Ever After: Where the Fairy Tale of a Cure Comes True” is the theme for this years Relay for Life of Tyler County, and the committee members are hoping their fairy tale of more teams, more participation and more money raised for the cause, comes true as well.

“We’re working really hard this year,” said Relay for Life of Tyler County co-chairman, Patty Henthorn. “We’ve changed things up a bit in hopes of getting more people out. We need participants and teams and we especially need survivors to take part. This is so important.”

The 2011 Relay For Life of Tyler County will be held on June 3 from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. at the Sistersville City Park. “These facilities will be great, we’ll make our own track and it’s located in a more populated area,” Henthorn said of the new location for the Relay. “We’re hoping more teams will sign up to participate since we’ll be in town this year and also people can just stop by, like a festival or something. Each team will have their own campsite and activities will be going on all night.”

Relay For Life is the main cancer volunteer-driven fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. The objective of the Relay is to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients. This event is held annually to spread cancer awareness, celebrate the lives of survivors, remember those who have lost their lives to cancer and to unite communities in the fight against cancer.

Relay for Life is run by volunteers. Chairpersons oversee “teams” of volunteers who raise money for the American Cancer Society. Funds raised benefit cancer research grants and programs, prevention programs, community/patient support programs, detection and treatment programs, etc.

Henthorn and co-chair, Pat Dawson each agree that the project is worthwhile. “This is such a great community project,” Henthorn, who has been involved in Relay activities for the past five years, said. “At Relay, every person in the community has a chance to celebrate, remember, and fight back.”

Dawson, a Relay participant for four years, said she has personally seen the good that Relay does. “I got involved after I lost a very dear friend to cancer,” she said. “This area has such a high rate of cancer, I would hope everyone would want to participate to fight it. We need relay teams.”

Relay teams, usually from 5-18 individuals, are made up of people from all walks of life, all ages, and all lifestyles.

Teams can be made up of family members, business associates, co- workers, friends, scout troops, clubs and organizations . . . high school sports groups or clubs, church groups, sewing circles, coffee clubs . . . any group of people willing to help fight cancer by participating in this worthy cause.

These teams generally come up with a name, such as “Star Brites” or “Purple Misfits” etc., and begin fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Teams have come up with very unique fundraisers over the years from “Flushing away Cancer” (placing toilets in yards for donations), to “Track your Laps” (selling beads per lap walked on track) to garage sales, yards sales, car washes, and everything else under the sun.

Each team attends their local all night Relay event of the year, which is held at a local park, track, or trail. Individuals walk or run around a track or path throughout the night, to remind one and all, that cancer never sleeps.

Groups or individuals are not required to walk a certain distance or amount of laps, they are merely asked to participate in the event.

Teams can also set up tables in small areas at the main event to raise extra funds for the Relay.

Thanks in part to these generous contributions to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Society is helping people stay well, helping people get well, finding cures and fighting back.

In general, the Relay For Life main event creates a sense of bringing people together for a common cause, in a moving and fun atmosphere.

Each Relay begins with a survivors lap, in which survivors are invited to walk the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories that have been achieved over cancer.

It is a way of saying that more lives are saved each year – just like those of each individual on the track. Survivors are encouraged to participate at Relays as special, honored guests.

“Survivors are the reason we do this,” said Henthorn. “We need more survivors to take part. Our goal is to have 60 survivors participate this year. 60 survivors and at least 20 teams.”

“Anybody can form a team,” Dawson said. “They don’t have to be an official group affiliated with an organization. It can be a few members of a family forming a team, a group of friends, boy and girl scouts, co-workers, anybody.”

To form a team, contact Dawson or Henthorn for more information on go online to relayforlife.org/tylerwv.

Last year the Relay of Life for Tyler County raised $22,692. This years goal is $24,530. “Thanks to the committee, we have already raised $635 with bake sales and a soup sale,” Henthorn said. “But we still have a long way to go.”

When darkness falls, a luminaria ceremony is always held at Relay’s. Those people who have been touched by cancer are honored and loved ones lost to the disease are remembered. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer. Participants often walk a lap of the track or trail in silence.

Finally, there is a “fight back” ceremony, where personal commitments to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer are made.

Cancer is indiscriminate and knows no boundaries. The fight is more successful every year.

The Tyler County Relay For Life of Tyler County will kick off the 2011 campaign on Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. at the Middlebourne Fire Hall. Teams and team members are needed to continue the important battle against cancer.

“We invite everyone to attend the kick off,” Henthorn said. “Any questions anyone has about any of the activities associated with Relay will be answered here. We have invited a special survivor, Cassandra Latimer, to speak and there will be a small reception as well.”

The first team captain meeting is scheduled for March 1 at LaZears Chapel Church in Kidwell at 7 p.m. Team captains, and/or members of teams participating are encouraged to be present as information and fundraising ideas will be available.

Those interested in participating, donating or forming or joining a team are asked to contact Henthorn at 304-771-0771 or Dawson at 304-386-4510 for more information.

Information can also be gained by visiting the groups website at: www.relayforlife.org /tylerwv or their Facebook page, Relay for Life of Tyler County 2011.