By CHERIL VERNON
For the first time since Relay for Life started in Anderson County, the event will be held solely on a Saturday and at a different time.
Organizers of the Anderson County Relay for Life have nailed down a date and secured a location for the 2014 event. It will be held Saturday, May 3 from noon to midnight at Westwood High School's Panther Stadium.
In the past, the event started at 7 p.m. on a Friday and ended at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
“We were looking this year at doing the event on a Saturday,” Anderson County Relay for Life Event Chair Kimberly Thompson told the Herald-Press. “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.”
Thompson hopes that the new time frame of the event will allow for more participation in the community.
The goal for the 2014 Relay for Life is to raise $100,000, have 50 teams and get more businesses involved, Thompson added.
“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.
So far, 21 teams have registered with 96 participants.
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.
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 the battle against cancer and celebrate that. For 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.
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. Teams also hold a multitude of fund-raisers from their tent site during the Relay for Life event.
Other fundraising opportunities exist such as corporate underwriting, sponsorship, the sale of luminaries and individual donations.
For more information about Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/andersoncotx or the Anderson County Relay for Life page on Facebook or e-mail Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org\
Upcoming Relay for Life fund-raisers:
Texas Oncology, 3415 S. Loop 256, will hold a Valentine's Day bake sale from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.