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Co-chair reflects on 14 years with Relay for Life

By CALVIN PYNN

calvin@southwesttimes.com

 

What is “Relay for Life?”

That is what Robbie Morris, this year’s event co-chair, asked himself in 2001 when asked to join the Pulaski Health and Rehabilitation Center’s Relay for Life Team.

Now, starting his fourteenth year as an American Cancer Society volunteer, he has found out the many ways the American Cancer Society programs and research touch the local community, as well as the world.

According to Morris, the team captain invited him to join the team he was forming in 2001. He had never heard of “Relay for Life,” but agreed to participate in the event, which was held at Pulaski County High School that year.

“Immediately, I was hooked on the event,” said Morris. “What I expected was to spend one hour walking and then to come home, but when I arrived with my family, we found a community “party.”

According to Morris, groups of teams lined the high school track with games, music, relays, food, and activities that lasted well into the night.

The next year, Morris agreed to be his facility’s team captain, and also joined the Pulaski County event committees. In fourteen years, he has assisted with team registration, served as Finance Chair, Team Development/Team Recruitment, Event Co-Chair, Event Chairman, and helped with survivor events.

Morris said that he decided to continue participating in Relay for Life after his first year when his sister was diagnosed with cancer.

“These words terrify the person and families affected,” said Morris. “Over the years I have met many people/families who have received those words. Many are survivors but unfortunately, many are not so lucky. I relay so my daughter and future grandchildren never have to hear those words.”

At this point, Morris’ sister is a cancer-free.

According to Morris, The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is a life changing event that gives everyone in the community and across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.

Each year more than 4 million in over 20 countries take part in the event to raise funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. The American Cancer Society is also partnered with LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski Cancer Center to their Road to Recovery and Look Good Feel Better programs.

Overall the goal is to help people with cancer and their loved ones understand the disease, manage their lives through treatment and recovery and find emotional support.

According to Morris, this year’s event will look different than past years, particularly due to a change of venue. This year’s Relay for Life will be held at the New River Valley Fairgrounds on June 21-22.

The event will on Saturday, June 21 at 10 a.m. with a celebration lap for cancer survivors and caregivers. The event will go throughout the day and end at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

This year’s theme is a “Country Carnival for a Cure.” According to Morris, they are currently looking for teams of family/friends, church groups, businesses, and other community groups/civic groups to join the fight against cancer.

For more information, contact Event Chair Don Taylor at  dtaylor96@radford.edu or 540-392-4693.

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