Ashe County, are you ready to Relay for Life?
This annual event is the signature fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society and begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Survivor Walk at 6:15 p.m., Friday, July 18, at Ashe County High School’s Huskie Stadium.
Now in its 101st year, the American Cancer Society has been leading the way in transforming cancer from deadly to preventable. Each year, more than four million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay For Life movement.
The community-wide event is always well attended, and is anchored by the involvement of local teams representing individuals and families, churches, businesses and community-based organizations. According local organizers, this year’s Relay features 58 business, church and corporate sponsors and a total of 16 local teams. “Ashe County has always been so supportive of our Relay events, and we hope the community will come out to support the Relay’s 20th year in Ashe,” said Mary Jo Black, a member of this year’s local Relay for Life Committee.
Opening ceremonies will include the presentation of colors by the Ashe County High School JROTC, the singing of the national anthem by Taylon Miller and remarks by local volunteers and area representatives of the American Cancer Society. Lots of activities are scheduled, including music throughout the evening by Chris Penick of Let the Music Play DJ Services, bounce houses for kids and on-site team fundraisers. Concessions will be available, including hamburgers, hot dogs, home-baked goods, drinks and more.
Those who have attended previous Relay for Life events know that one of the most meaningful aspects of the event beyond the survivor lap is the luminaria service, which features lighted luminaries that are placed around the track that honor or remember those who have been touched by cancer. Luminaries may be purchased for $10 each from teams on site until 8:30 p.m. at the Relay event, and the luminary service will begin around 9 p.m. A more recent addition to the Luminaria Ceremony has been the placement of tribute torches to honor or remember someone who has been touched by cancer, and these will also be featured at this year’s Relay event.
The history of Relay for Life dates to May 1985, when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, ultimately raising $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern – cancer. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since those first steps, the Relay for Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, involving more than 5,000 communities across 50 states and 22 countries, raising more than $4 billion to fight cancer.
ACS South Atlantic Division Community Manager Melissa Hiatt and new Staff Partner Carrie Phillips have been working with local volunteers for the past few months to plan this year’s event. “Each year over four million people take to the track because of someone they know that has had cancer. They do this in honor and remembrance of their loved ones, with the hope that they can put an end to this horrible disease,” Hiatt said. “This charge…‘Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.’ sums up the event. Celebrate the victories of our survivors. Remember those who lost the battle. Fight Back by fund-raising, educating and supporting research to stop Cancer. Relay For Life is an emotional event were you will laugh, cry, play and learn all in one night.”
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, fund-raising and planning events. Any person with an interest or idea is encouraged to talk with a committee member at the event or email Carrie Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 828-963-3935.
For more information about the Ashe Relay event, call Carrie Phillips at 828-963-3935 or Melissa Hiatt at 336-755-8566.