By TRAVIS HANDY
Put on your walking shoes and head out to the annual Relay for Life at Randolph Park in Dublin this evening to join in celebrating and remembering members of our community affected by cancer and help raise money and awareness for a good cause.
The organizing committee for Pulaski County’s annual American Cancer Society fundraiser has been busy since January, putting together final details for this year’s event, and teams have excitedly raised money for the cause throughout the community. Fundraisers have ranged from bake sales to “Relay Recess” events like the one held at Pulaski Elementary School in late April.
The main event, Pulaski County Relay for Life, will be held from 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, through 6 a.m. Saturday, May 18, with celebration and remembrance lasting throughout the entire night.
The theme this year is “Rockin’ for a Cure,” and teams will decorate and dress in 50s and 60s style. Although teams and participants were encouraged to pre-register for the event, there will be a registration tent available for new registrations on Relay night.
Relay teams and the American Cancer Society count on the generosity of community members who donate time, money and goods to make the event a success. Organizers would remind people that the money raised before, during and after the event goes to many different supports for cancer patients and research.
“A big piece of Relay is where the money goes,” community leader Erika Tolbert said in January. “We fund research, we provide grants to different researchers, but another part is that we have programs for cancer patients and their caregivers, so that money is also going to those people in our community that need help… and are going through treatments right now.”
The event will kick off with an opening ceremony and survivor lap at 6 p.m., when participants are encouraged to line the track to celebrate and cheer on survivors and those currently engaged in their personal battles with cancer.
Other ceremonies will include the “luminaria” ceremony, a moving, silent and reverent time for remembrance of those who have lost their battles, as the luminaries honoring those who have passed on line the walking track.
The speaker for the remembrance ceremony will be Stacy Viers, owner of Unique Salon in Fairlawn. Viers cut her hair in November 2012 and donated it to Locks of Love in honor of her sister-in-law who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her donation to Locks of Love was accompanied by over $10,000 raised by Viers in her salon.
Luminaria bags will be available at the event for $10. During the intensely moving remembrance ceremony, luminaries will be lit in honor of those who have been lost to and those engaged in the fight against cancer. A slideshow will be played, featuring photos of people who have been lost to the disease as well as people still fighting.
The Traditions, Magic Moments, Valley Elite Allstars, Acoustic Crossroads and vocalist Jason Chrisley will provide entertainment throughout the evening. The event will also include a midnight Zumba session.
The final ceremony, held in the early morning hours near the end of the event, is called “Fight Back,” and serves as a reminder that although the event is drawing to a close, the battle against cancer is not over.
The entire community is invited to stop by tonight and make a contribution or honor a loved one.