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Liberty Relay will raise funds, cancer awareness

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POSTED: April 27, 2011 9:20 a.m.

Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Relay for Life participants will circle the Liberty County Recreation Department’s football field for 12 consecutive hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society while boosting awareness and supporting survivors. So far, Liberty County teams have raised $75,895.89. Their goal is $154,000, said Jessica Seagle, community manager of the South Atlantic division of the American Cancer Society.
Participants and spectators are encouraged to arrive early to watch the opening ceremonies, but anyone may join in the event at any time, Seagle said.
“The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities 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,” according to the American Cancer Society’s website, www.cancer.org. “Relay began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Wash., ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society.”
Those who want to drop by the Relay or walk on the track do not have to be registered.
“It is a family-friendly event and we encourage the community to help us fight back against cancer while helping the American Cancer Society raise funds to save lives,” Seagle said. “The track is a standard-size track, and the idea is for each team to have one member on the track at all times for the duration of the 12-hour event with the exception of the survivor lap and the luminaria ceremony.”
All the money raised through Relay goes to the American Cancer Society to provide programs and services in local communities and also is used to fund research grants, Seagle said.
On the night of the race, teams also will sell items to bring in last-minute funds. Survivors should check in around 6:15 p.m. to pick up their shirts and line up for the survivors’ lap. Col. Thomas James will make the opening remarks.
Every year, more than 3.5 million people nationwide take part in the fundraiser, according to the campaign website, www.relayforlife.org. And every year, every person has a story to tell about how cancer has touched his or her life.
Nancy Pack, team leader for Midway United Methodist Church, will be participating in her 10th race this weekend in honor of her father.
“I started doing Relay when my dad passed away from colon cancer … it’s gotten to be very dear to me,” Pack said. “My dad passed away in 2000 … and since that time, I’ve gotten involved with Relay. People should not have to go through that. People should have more birthdays and we’ll have fewer funerals.”
Although only nine team members will be walking, Pack said many more are donating their time and support on the day of the event to encourage those circling the track.
According to Liberty County’s Relay for Life site, Midway United Methodist Church is one of the top fundraising teams.
“Roughly, we have about $6,500, I’d say. We’re not as good as we’ve done in years past, but with the economy we’re blessed that we have what we have,” Pack said.
The all-night event likely will be tiring, but Pack said the event is worth it.
“There are just so many families and friends in our community that have cancer that just need support. My mother is 82 years old, and it is the only night she will stay up all night long,” Pack said. “Just go out and seize the moment. It’s a very heartwarming experience. When you see the survivors walk the lap … it’s just all about why you’re there. We’ve got to do something to keep those survivors going.”

 

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