Relay for Life volunteer start preparations
By Jana Copeland
The search for finding a cure for cancer has been going on for a long time. A way that came about raising money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) is the well-known Relay for Life.
Relay for Life is an event that was started in 1985 by one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Wash. He walked and ran around a track for 24 hours and raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society, in honor of his mother. The next year, he organized teams to walk to bring more people to get involved and the Relay for Life, as it is known today, began.
Today, more than 4,600 communities across the United States and many other countries world-wide hold Relay for Life Events. Relay for Life is the #1 non-profit fundraising activity in the world.
In Howard County, Relay for Life Events have been held for more than 25 years. “The funds we raise go to ACS, for cancer research. These funds are distributed to all types of cancer research; we do not fund just one type of cancer research. Every type of cancer has a colored ribbon that represents it, and Relay for Life supports every color for research because it is our mission to find a cure,” Linda Chambers, Relay for Life Team Development, said.
Relay for Life Events are held in almost every county in Arkansas. Chambers says, “Everyone in a community or county has been touched by cancer, themselves, a loved one or a friend. Through Relay for Life, we honor those fighting or that have won their battle with cancer and we remember those we have lost to cancer with our Luminaria Ceremony and our Reception of Survivors and their caretakers at our event.”
Year around, Relay for Life teams hold fundraisers to raise money for the event. At the event, teams set up campsites and sell food, hold raffles, play games, such as bingo, minute to win it, and face paint, etc., but all funds raised go to Relay.
Relay for Life will be Friday, June 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nashville City Park.
This year, the event is going to be different. The fundraising booths will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then a concert at 8 p.m.
The Luminaria service will follow the concert.
The Survivors and Caretakers Banquet will begin around 5 p.m. for registration. The Survivors will take the first walk around the track, followed by their caretakers, and then the Relay Teams.
“The Luminaria Service we do to honor and remember is something you do not want to miss,” Chambers said. “Our teams will begin the sales in February on luminaria bags, tiki torches, and new for this year, we will have the large lanterns.”
The number of teams varies each year, depending on the number of volunteers. Chambers has seen as many 25 teams for one year. Last year, there were 15 teams.
Participants belong to a team of 10 or 15 people. The team members take turns on the track throughout the event. Through the entire event, each team will be represented.
All of the team members help in the fund-raising.
All of the money raised will go directly to ACS.
“If you’re wondering if you can get involved, you can,” according to Chambers. Teams can be youth organizations, church groups, business teams, and even family teams.
Persons may start a team or join an existing team, just go to www.relayforlife.org/howardar or call Linda Chambers at (870)-557-7762 for information.
The first team meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 108 at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas (CCCUA).
Chambers says that she relays to remember the loved ones she has lost to cancer and to honor the people that fight this battle every day because cancer does not sleep. This disease has to be battled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“I can volunteer a few hours a month and several hours for the event to raise money for research and finding a cure … Come join me in this fight! We have volunteers in this town that want to see a cure for cancer. Myself, I hope my grandchildren get to read about cancer in a history book,” she said.
This is a great way to help people and become involved in something bigger than us, Chambers said. “Join the fight and help those battling for their lives from this terrible disease.”