GALLIPOLIS - The Gallia County Unit of the American Cancer Society will hold its annual Relay for Life in the Gallipolis City Park this Friday and Saturday, June 2 and 3.
Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity that offers everyone in the community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams camp out at the park and take turns walking the Relay track, with a representative from each team on the track at all times during the event.
The power of Relay is that it allows a community to grieve for those lost to cancer and to celebrate the lives of those who have survived. For the newly diagnosed, Relay offers an opportunity to meet someone who has survived the same type of cancer, and for cancer patients in treatment, it offers the opportunity to share with others.
For the long-term survivor, Relay brings recognition that the community cares about their struggle and closure to a trying time in life.Relay for Life began in May 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt took the first step of his 24-hour walk/jog/run around a Tacoma, Wash., track, raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society. The following year, 220 supporters on 19 teams joined Klatt for the beginning of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
“Relay for Life is as much an awareness raiser about progress against cancer as it is a fund-raiser,” said Bonnie McFarland, Gallia County Relay for Life chairwoman. “Many of the participants will be people who are cancer survivors themselves. Their involvement is proof of the progress that has been made not only in cancer cure rates, but in the quality of life following cancer treatment. Funds raised will enable us to expand our services to cancer patients and their families, to offer more educational programs that will reduce people's risk of getting cancer, and to expand cancer research programs.”
A variety of entertainment and activities will take place during the Gallia Relay for all to enjoy, including an appearance from the 1988 Miss America, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson.
Musical selections will be provided at Relay by Joey Wilcoxon, who is the featured act at 8 p.m. Friday. Also performing will be the Sweet Adelines, Pam Hager, Paul “Bub” Williams and Erin James.
The community is reminded that a luminary ceremony will be held at 9:30 p.m. Friday in the park. Luminaries are $10 each and can be purchased at the event or by calling Joan Schmidt at 446-4728.
Luminaries can honor or memorialize a special loved one and will be placed around the walking track and lit with recognition of names at the 9:30 pm service.
McFarland and the Gallia County Relay for Life Committee would like to recognize their corporate sponsors, the Holzer Center for Cancer Care (including Holzer Medical Center and Holzer Clinic), Gallipolis Career College, American Electric Power, US Bank, Scenic Hills and Midget Press, who have helped make this year's event possible.
All are encouraged to attend this year's Relay for Life for as little or as long as desired. The event will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, with the survivor reception. The opening ceremony, survivor lap and caregiver lap will take place at 6 p.m. Team laps will begin afterward and will continue until the end of the event at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The second annual Ride for Life bicycle ride will also kick-off at 9 a.m. in the City Park on Saturday as a part of the Relay festivities.
For more information about this year's Gallia County Relay for Life, please call McFarland at 446-5679.