By MARY RAINWATER
Those interested in joining the biggest cancer fighting event in Anderson County — Relay for Life — are invited to attend the 2014 Kick-Off Rally on Tuesday.
The kick-off rally will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ben E. Keith Community Room, located at 2019 W. Oak St. Healthy snacks will be served as refreshments.
The event allows locals to register as a cancer survivor, caregiver, volunteer, underwriter/sponsor or to join a team or sign up a team.
“We will be sharing information and showing a couple of videos of what we do,” Anderson County Relay for Life Event Chair Kimberly Thompson told the Herald-Press Friday. “If people want to get involved, or are unaware of what Relay is or if they have questions, it would be a great time to learn more about it.”
The main Relay for Life event is set for May — but a definite time, date and place hasn't been confirmed.
In the past, the event started at 7 p.m. on a Friday and ended at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
“We are looking this year at doing the event on a Saturday from noon to midnight,” Thompson said. “This would allow the community to be more involved, allows for family involvement and it would be easier on the cancer survivors we are celebrating and those currently fighting cancer to come out at noon rather than in the evening.”
The Relay for Life event will include the usual events including the opening ceremonies, survivor laps, team laps, the Mrs. Relay competition and the luminaria ceremony, among other activities.
Cancer survivors kick off the event with a “Survivor’s Lap.” After sundown, luminarias are lit in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer and in honor of cancer survivors.
“The luminaria ceremony allows people who have lost a loved one to cancer to remember them. It also lets you think about the people who have won battle against cancer and celebrate that. Those who are fighting, it allows them time to see that they are still here and to see all of the support that they have,” Thompson said.
Goal for the 2014 Relay for Life is to raise $100,000, have more teams and get more businesses involved, Thompson said.
“Last year we raised around $75,000 and we had 44 teams. We would like to see more local businesses have teams or at least come out on Relay night and be involved in the event. It truly is a community event,” Thompson said.
Relay for Life organizers also are hoping to get local businesses to decorate their establishments in purple — the signature color of the Relay for Life event that represents its survivors — during the month of April before the Relay for Life event takes place.
Relay for Life Teams consist of up to 15 people representing various businesses, civic groups, social organizations, church groups, friends and families. While the Relay For Life is in progress, a community party atmosphere is created in tent city with entertainment, food, games and camaraderie.
To participate, each team member is asked to raise a minimum of $100 before the event, with all of the money going directly to the American Cancer Society’s life-saving research, education and patient service programs.
Other fundraising opportunities exist such as corporate underwriting, sponsorship, the sale of luminaries and individual donations.
For more information about Relay for Life, attend the kick-off rally Tuesday, visit www.relayforlife.org/andersoncotx or the Anderson County Relay for Life page on Facebook or e-mail Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org