Celebrating Relay

Published 11:03 pm Friday, May 4, 2012

Teams raise money, awareness

As the clouds rolled in and the lights came on members of the Pike County community came together in unity to celebrate Relay for Life on Friday night.

From the somber lighting of the luminaries and survivor walk to festive performances from local dance groups, people from all around the area made one final push at raising money for cancer research.

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“It’s been fabulous,” said Angel Tillery, a member of the FestiGals Relay team and a cancer survivor. “We’ve had a great crowd, great weather and wonderful participation in the events. The community has really come together for a great cause.”

The relay, which was held at the Troy Sportsplex on the soccer fields, marked the end of a year of competition and fund-raising for the sake of cancer research and awareness.

At the end of the night, SAHRA Doctors, the FestiGals and KW Plastics led the pack in money raised out of 35 teams, adding to more than $110,000 brought in despite claims of a tough year for fundraising due to economic stress in the country.

“We did a beauty pageant, a dice run, a 5k and had Blue Jean Fridays every year to raise money,” SAHRA Doctors team member Christy Shelton said. “There is so much cancer around this area and the community comes together so much for the relay. Fundraising hasn’t been as easy this year because of the economy but it’s all worked out well.”

Although much of the year was made up of fund-raising events for the final total, the relay itself served as a simple way of bringing people together.

There was a volleyball court set up along with ping-pong and bounce houses for the younger children and the smells of barbecue and cooking filled the air.

As the night drew to a close the luminary bags were lit and the noise subsided and the attendees walked in silence in honor of those they had lost to or are helping fight cancer. And in another lap the survivors of cancer had a chance to walk the track.

“The survivor’s walk is my personal favorite,” Tillery said. “As a survivor it’s meaningful to see everyone come together for one reason: to find a cure. Everyone has been affected by cancer in one way or another and it gives us all a common goal.”

The relay may have served as a conclusion to the year’s Relay for Life event, but it is far from a final end.

Already the teams who came together to raise one and support cancer survivors are preparing for another year of community and competition.

“We’re planning a 5K mud run as a new event,” Tillery said of the FestiGals team. “It will also be the third year of our Cocktails for a Cure Party which doubled in attendance this year. We’re looking to get people of ages involved and hopefully we’ll come out of the recession and fundraising will double, we’re expecting a great year.”

For a complete listing of winners, click here.