Approximately 40 teams of hard-working and dedicated people gathered at Nunley Stadium Friday night for Warren County’s 11th annual Relay for Life event. With the theme being “Dream Big, Hope Big, Relay Big,” they pulled out all the stops to make the event big.
Organizers left the theme open to teams to decide what “big” meant to them and their members. Everything from the popular “Duck Dynasty” television program to an “Alice in Wonderland” display both impressed and entertained attendees.
Raintree Manor team members chose “Get Mad About Cancer” to go with their Alice presentation, complete with a decorated tea party table, and appropriate tea party refreshments.
RN Debbie Cook, Raintree’s MDS coordinator, said, “We decided to go big in the fact Alice is so small and everything around her is big, and the fight against cancer is even bigger.”
Relay organizer Sharon Walker attributes the success of the event to the residents of Warren County.
“Our Relay gets better and better each year, and it’s due to the fact the community we live in is so generous and eager to work for the worthy cause. We couldn’t live in a better community,” said Walker.
The night officially opened with cancer survivors taking a lap around the track, making it an emotional moment as survivors of all ages proudly donned their purple shirts and made the lap. Crowds of attendees lined the track and clapped and offered words of encouragement as they passed.
Mike and Karyl Poss were in attendance, along with son Ben Merriman. Cancer has touched their lives in many ways in the last year, with Karyl’s mother Lucille McBride battling bone cancer. Mike just finished his chemotherapy treatments two months ago, and is deemed cancer-free at this time. The two are more overjoyed as their son Ben has received positive news from his battle with the disease.
“We just decided we needed to be here tonight to walk the survivor lap,” said Karyl. “We are just so thankful to God for our family, and realize the importance of cancer research.”
Luminarias purchased in memory of a loved one who has lost their fight, or are still battling the disease were lit at 10 p.m. with each of their names announced.
It is a night for remembering for many, but also a night of hope for many more. Lots of fun activities are enjoyed, as well as folks taking time to visit with their neighbors and share memories.
Walker, who is a survivor herself, closed with, “We are all touched by cancer in different ways, and we are here for one thing, and that’s to find a cure.”