WEST JEFFERSON — A lot has changed in Ashe County over the last 21 years, but the steadfast support of Relay for Life is not one of those.
The annual event marks its 21st year on Friday night where the Ashe County community will come together once again to raise money to fight cancer, rally around those who are battling the disease and remember the ones that have been lost after their courageous fights.
This year’s event will take place at Westwood Elementary School with opening ceremonies beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m. The opening remarks will include local cancer survivor Wendy Roten Arnold speaking to those in the community. After that, the ceremonial Survivor’s Lap will take place at 7:30.
So far, the county has raised over $35,000 and hope to be able to meet the fundraising goal of $56,000 for this year.
A total of 84 business, church and corporate sponsors have put together a total of 20 local teams to walk and raise money for the cause.
“Ashe County has always been greatly supportive of our Relay events, and we expect this year to be no different,” said Tammy Mash, the local Relay for Life Chairperson.
Once nightfall hits, the luminary service will begin. This features lighted luminaries placed around the walking track in honor of those that have had to deal with cancer in their lives. The service will begin at 9 p.m. and will include special music from Bethany United Methodist Church. Luminaries can be purchased for $5 up until 8:30 p.m. that night.
There will be lots of other activities as well for both adults and children. Bounce houses will be there for the kids and there will be an evening full of music from volunteer Glen Sullivan. There will also be concessions that will include hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, homemade goods and much more.
“Each year, over four million people take to the track because of someone they know that has had cancer. They do this because they want no more of this horrible disease,” said Watauga resident Carrie Phillips, who is the American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division Community Manager. “Celebrate the victories of our survivors, remember those who lost the battle, fight back by fundraising, educating and supporting research to stop cancer.”
The Relay for Life Committee of Ashe County is always looking for individuals that are interested in helping to eradicate cancer through education to the community, fundraising and planning events. Any person with an interest or idea is encouraged to talk with a committee member at the event or contact Carrie Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-963-3935.
“Relay for Life is an emotional event were you will laugh, cry, play and learn all in one night,” said Phillips.
For more information about the Ashe Relay event, call Tammy Mash at 336-977-2663.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87