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Relay for Life is Friday-Saturday
Liberty hopes to raise $157,000 to fight cancer
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Like many Relay for Life volunteers, Liberty County’s co-chairwoman Sharon Dunham has a personal reason for getting involved in the campaign to raise money for cancer research.
“I lost my dad to prostate cancer in 2005,” Dunham said. “My mother also had breast cancer and is a survivor. And I personally had three cysts removed which were, thankfully, benign … But, I have three daughters and, if I can, I want to prevent them from having to go through it.”
Because the illness touched so many of her family members, each year Dunham dedicates a large amount of her free time and extra
energy to stopping cancer. She said after participating in her first relay, she was addicted to the cause and
guarantees this year’s walk, which starts tonight, will touch everyone’s hearts.
Relay for Life is a 24-hour celebration, remembrance and fundraiser when team members take turns walking the track to symbolize a unified fight against cancer. At 7 tonight, 44 teams, made up of 407 people, will start the overnight trek around the Liberty County Recreation Department’s Long Bell Stadium in Stafford Park.
To keep spirits up Dunham and other committee members have planned a full night of activities.
“The big kick-off is at 7. The mayor’s going to come and welcome people and someone from Fort Stewart will welcome people,” Dunham said.
The goal is to raise $157,000. She said groups will set up booths around the track to sell goods or entertainment to increase the pot, which Dunham estimates has close to $85,000 so far.
“Come with some cash in hand. Get your piggy bank,” Dunham said. “Most of the money comes in before the relay, but we’ve been trying to push that [on-site fundraising] this year. It’s really the icing on the cake.”
There’s no shortage of variety or enthusiasm either. She said people have signed up to sell angel pins, cupcakes, raffles, ice drinks and even swings at a piñata. The theme of this year’s event is “Luau for Life” and Dunham expects many of the booths to follow suit offering beach-themed activities.
Dunham said the event has three main parts: at 7 there will be a celebration of those who have beat the disease. Survivors will take a victory lap together around the track. At 9 there will be a remembrance of those lost, each represented with a luminary lighting. The rest of the night the walk will represent the ongoing fight for a cure.
“It will go, celebrate, remember, fight back,” she said. “We’re fighting for a cure so we don’t have cancer anymore,” Dunham said.
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