Relay for Life is this weekend

Wed, 05/02/2007 - 9:53am
By: The Citizen

One person can make a difference.

Nowhere will that be more evident than at this weekend’s American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

On Friday, May 4 at 4 p.m. at the Stonewall Village in downtown Fayetteville, Abbey Hambrick will start the Torch Relay by carrying the Relay torch in honor of her Dad. Jim Hambrick, Abbey’s father is a local firefighter who was supposed to lead off the torch relay, but emergency cancer surgery will prohibit him from doing so. Instead, Abbey will run in his place and then hand off the torch to one of the 30 other torch bearers for the 2007 Fayette County Relay For Life Torch Relay.

Each one of the 30 other torch bearers who will carry the Relay For Life torch is a cancer survivor or a patient currently undergoing treatment. The torch bearers represent several different Fayette County schools, local churches, businesses, and Delta Airlines – a significant supporter of Relay For Life. The torch relay will head south on Redwine Road, turn onto Horseshoe Road, return to Redwine, go through the Highgrove subdivision, return to Redwine, turn left onto Bernard and cross GA Highway 85 to enter the Kiwanis Fair Complex from Goza Road.

The Moo Town Bikers will provide an honor guard to the torch during the Relay and at the fairgrounds. At the fairgrounds the Relay Torch will be handed off to cancer survivor Jenny Gardner, a 2000 McIntosh High School graduate who is currently receiving treatment for lung cancer. After Jenny escorts the torch for a lap around the track, she will hand the torch off to six year old Jacob Murphy who is a survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cancer. Jacob will light the Relay For Life Torch of Hope at approximately 7 p.m.

Once the Torch of Hope has been lit, over 500 Fayette County cancer survivors will walk the first lap of Relay For Life. Cancer survivors walk the initial lap, symbolizing the courage that survivors display and sustain in their lives. The cancer survivors will be joined by their caregivers for the second lap. This is the community’s opportunity to honor the men and women who care for those with cancer. Then, 105 teams of youth, community groups, local business people, teachers and administrators, and everyday ordinary folks will start walking around a gravel paved track surrounded by unlit luminary bags, and they won't stop walking until sunrise on Saturday morning.

Each participant will make a difference in the fight against cancer by walking and raising funds.

Relay For Life is a celebration of cancer survivorship and community spirit. Each year in 3,600 communities worldwide, more than 2.25 million people (including 460,000 cancer survivors) take part in this overnight event. In addition to honoring survivors, Relay For Life raises much-needed funds for American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and patient services. The 2006 Relay For Life of Fayette County raised $423,000 and had 300 survivors participate. The goal for Relay For Life 2007 is to raise $440,250 and have 350 survivors participate.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend Relay For Life. The event is a family friendly community building happening. Teams raising funds will sell food, novelty items, and offer games of chance. This year’s event will be extra special for the participants representing Delta Airlines. The Fayette County Relay For Life will be the first corporate event for Delta, after coming out of bankruptcy on April 30. Delta executives from all over the world are coming to Relay to participate and to show their support of the American Cancer Society. The Delta pink breast cancer awareness airplane is scheduled to do two flyovers at the event.

Witnessing the Luminaria Ceremony at 9:30 p.m. is a most memorable event. Participants of Relay will take turns lighting the hundreds of luminaria that surround the inside and outside of the track in honor or in memorial, of someone who has battled cancer. Searching for a loved ones' luminary, lighting it, and then watching it glow through the night, reminds Relay participants that there is always hope. Hope for a cure, and hope for an end to cancer suffering. Debuting at Relay this year is a brand new Hope/Cure sign that will be used in the midnight ceremony to honor those who lost their cancer battle this past year. The Hope/Cure sign was constructed by Tom Jackson, a Fayetteville resident who lost his wife, Beth, to colon cancer this past year. The Hope/Cure sign was built by Tom, in Beth’s honor and memory.

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life - Fayette County will be held on Friday, May 4 at the Kiwanis Fair Complex in Fayetteville. The all night entertainment starts at 6 p.m., the opening ceremony will begin at 7 p.m., and the luminary ceremony will be at 9:30 p.m. There will be a memorial ceremony at midnight to honor those who have had cancer and are no longer with us and a wrap up and closing ceremony will take place at dawn. Come join other members of our community and show your support for the teams fighting the battle against cancer.

For more information about Relay For Life, please contact Elizabeth Pool, Community Income Manager at 770-460-8920.

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