By Donna Thornton/News Editor
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life officially gets underway at 6 p.m. May 17, at Crosspoint Community Church, but more than 30 teams of churches, businesses and families/friends have been at work raising money to support the ACS’s patient services and research programs for months in preparation for the event.
Regions Bank Branch Manager Jason Battles is Etowah County’s event chair for the second year. He said Relay works to bring together people from all areas of the community to be involved and educated.
During the Friday night-Saturday morning event, Battles said each team will have a tent, and the tents will circle the track at Crosspoint.
“Most teams will have food or bracelets – something to sell – to raise money,” he said.
Most have already been selling or doing something to bring in money for cancer research. All Regions branches are selling chances on a Regions green bike, which will be given away the night of the event. Other businesses are raffling gift baskets or other items.
The relay begins at 6 p.m. with the Survivor Lap and continues with teams walking laps until 6 a.m. May 18. A Luminaria Ceremony will take place at 9 p.m., as participants celebrate those who’ve survived cancer, encourage those battling the disease now, and remember lost loved ones.
Battles said teams are not required to have someone walking all night, but last year, four people from three different teams were on the track all night.
“It’s almost a symbol,” Battles said. “You keep walking because we are constantly going to be searching for a cure, and that there’s always going to be someone who cares.”
Relay for Life began in 1985 with one man who walked and ran around a track for 24 hours and raised $27,000 for the ACS. Each year, 5,000 communities participate in Relay for Life in the United States and 20 other countries raise money and support the ACS vision of creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
To join Relay for Life of Etowah County, call 1-800-277-2345 or contact Justin Thomas at 205-466-5652 or by email at Justin.firstname.lastname@example.org. People may also visit RelayForLife.org or relayforlife/etowahal.