Just a few scant weeks remain until Moore County’s annual Relay for Life celebration.
The event is scheduled for June 7-8 at Wiseman Park. It kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 7 and Closing Ceremonies are slated for 6 a.m. on Saturday, June 8.
“Our goal was to have 10 teams participating. So far we have 11 teams signed up to participate,” said Penny Smith, who is in her first year as Chairman, along with first-year Co-Chair Lorie Austin. “Close to 1/3 of our goal has been reached.
“The purpose of the relay is to celebrate survivors, to remember those that we’ve lost to Cancer and to help fund research that will work toward a cure for all Cancers.”
This year’s theme here in Lynchburg is “Dream, Hope, Relay Big.”
With 11 teams signed up to participate and a number of individuals likely to turn out for the 12-hour event, it’s a fitting theme. Seven of the 11 teams already signed up boast at least 10 team members each, and four of those teams have 20 or more members.
One of the smallest groups, however, is a team headed by a trio of youngsters from Lynchburg Elementary School. The LES Student Council team can’t claim the big numbers that some of the others do, but they’re certainly not short on heart.
Fifth-graders Haley Roberts — the team captain — Emily Eslick and Carolyna Driver have been busy raising money for the Relay for Life cause. Starting last fall, the girls began making arts and crafts from multi-colored duct tape.
And not long after, they began selling their wares to fellow students, with all the money going back to the Relay for Life charity.
“We gradually began making more stuff,” said Eslick, who said that LES Student Council sponsor Jonah Deal has been instrumental in helping the girls organize their project and get a booth for the Relay for Life event. “We were just making stuff, and then we decided to do it for Relay for Life.”
Added Roberts, “We have had Student Council’s help. We kinda started it all together.”
The girls have participated in Relay for Life before, but not to this degree. Roberts is familiar with the fundraising aspect as she worked on a similar project last year when she attended St. Paul’s in Tullahoma. She donated her money then to Relay for Life.
The event is special to each of them.
“My grandmother died of Cancer a few years back … yes it’s special,” said Roberts.
Eslick enjoys the walk and event itself simply because of the charity.
“I know that I’m helping people’s families who had Cancer,” she said. “Just knowing that I’m helping them is good.”
Teams like the youth from LES have been fundraising for months. While the girls from LES have raised $237 to date, thanks to their crafts such as decorated clipboards — their most popular item among classmates they said — bows, bags, bookmarks, wallets and bracelets, others have been taking pledges, donations and rounding up sponsorships from businesses.
The Hot Shots, Eagles & Birdies — some 29 members strong — have raised more than $3,600. They held a pancake breakfast to help in their effort. The Methodist Movers are close to $2,800 raised as well.
According to Smith, family is one of the key ingredients.
“It’s a very family and community oriented event,” Smith said. “I think there is something there for everyone. When you come to the event, there will be lots of food, music, activities and organized games. There will be (different) ceremonies that night. There are ceremonies that help us remember that we can fight back … that there are things we can do to help prevent some Cancers.”
Money will continue to be raised throughout the 12 hours, right up until the Closing Ceremonies in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
And as the early morning fog rolls off of Mulberry creek, there will still be plenty of people around to celebrate the mighty contributions of the state’s smallest county.
“I think the effort in Moore County is tremendous,” added Smith. “We are always a top per-capita fundraising county. We have community-wide support and the event is always well attended with lots of participation.”
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor