by Madison V. Fisler
June 17, 2013. On Friday, June 14, 36 teams comprised of Watauga County survivors, caregivers and supporters showed their dedication to the eradication of cancer everywhere with the Watauga County Relay for Life.
This year’s Relay was a huge success, despite a windy start. With less teams than usual, the 439 participants proudly raised more than $101,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. This huge donation will go to help fund research toward the cure of all cancers worldwide.
“Our goal is $136,000 and I feel confident that the citizens of Watauga county will meet this need,” said Melissa Hiatt, Community Manager of the South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society.
At the Relay, supporters and survivors participated in many events throughout the evening and the Relay lasted all night long.
For many participants, the most memorable parts of the Relay were also the most emotional.
During the survivor lap, cancer survivors take the very first lap of the night, walking to upbeat music and the cheers of the other participants. This lap is a celebration of victory over cancer.
At 9:30 p.m. the Luminaria Ceremony began. Luminaria were lined up along the bleachers to spell out the word HOPE, each bearing the name of someone lost to cancer, an individual who is currently in the midst of a battle with it or someone who has fought that battle and come out victorious. This ceremony provides an outlet for those affected to express grief and to find hope.
But the Relay for Life event is not yet over! Fundraising and awareness efforts will continue until Aug 31, 2013.
Currently there are two community give back nights scheduled, one at Chili’s on July 15 and one at Ruby Tuesdays on July 22. Donations are currently still being accepted.
“The community and the committee have been extremely supportive and effective in supporting this cause, and we have great confidence in Watauga county’s fight against cancer,” Hiatt said.
Relay for Life is an international effort involving over 4 million people in over 20 countries that strives to raise funds and awareness for cancer research. Run by the American Cancer Society, the event strives to celebrate survivors, remember those who have passed on and fight back against cancer everywhere.
According to the Relay for Life’s website, linked here, the event raises a combined $400 million each year, which is then invested in groundbreaking cancer research and providing free information to cancer patients and their caregivers.
Photos by Ken Ketchie