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Join battle against cancer at Relay For Life tonight
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When Warren County residents gather at Nunley Stadium tonight for the ninth annual Relay For Life, they will mark a major milestone for the event, according to sponsorship committee co-chair Sharon Walker.
“We have gone over the $1 million mark in raising money to fight cancer,” Walker said. “That’s really wonderful and shows the caring nature and generosity of people in Warren County.”
The 2011 Relay For Life begins at 6 p.m. with the Survivor Walk kicking off the activities. Walker says Relay wants everyone who wants to participate in the walk to have a chance to do so.
“Even if they have not registered previously, if they are a survivor and they show up prior to 6 p.m., they can register and receive a free T-shirt and join in the first lap around the track,” Walker said. “As a survivor myself it’s a very touching thing to see your community, your family members and your friends out there cheering you on.”
Walker says there will be Gators and golf carts available for those who feel they can’t manage the walk but would like to make the lap.
At 7 p.m. there will be a live auction on the stage with all teams bringing auction items.
“This is our fourth or fifth year for the auction,” Walker said. “It’s been very successful. There will be everything from furniture, to vacations, to homemade quilts. Probably the most spectacular thing this year will be a pair of handmade dulcimers donated by Donnie Starkey, a retired registrar of deeds here in town. Those are going to be unique heirloom items.”
Among all the things going on at Relay, the Luminaria is traditionally one of the most solemn activities at the event.
“The Luminaria ceremony starts at 10 p.m.,” Walker said. “At that time all activities are paused. No more walking around the track, we cease selling, everything ceases. All the lights in the stadium are turned out. The track is only illuminated by the candles placed in bags around the track. Each one of those bags will have the name of a person who has battled cancer and those names are read out. We usually read out around 500 names.”
There are some other innovative activities planned for this year.
“Immediately after the Luminaria ceremony at 11 p.m. Joe Harvey will be performing an acoustic set,” Walker said.
According to Walker, there are around 55 teams participating this year, which is right in line with previous events.
“We have a lot of returning teams this year,” she said. “Some that have been with us from the very beginning, and we have several new teams this year, so we’re very excited about that. We’re expecting to have close to 1,000 team members there.”
But even with the Warren County Relay For Life million dollar success so far, Walker says it’s still vital to continue working diligently to raise money to fight this devastating disease.
“We have come a long way with cancer research,” Walker said. “But we still have a long way to go. We lose family members, co-workers and friends every year, so there’s still a lot to be done. Warren County people have such generous hearts and they really get behind Relay For Life. As committee members we say this every year, but it’s a real honor to get to work with the people of Warren County to help contribute to finding a cure for cancer.”