Upcoming Relay for Life supports cancer fighters

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The annual Relay for Life event allows the Barry County community to support friends and family members in the fight against cancer. This year's event will be held at the Cassville Wildcats Football Stadium from noon to midnight on Saturday, June 16.

The theme for the 2012 Relay is "Cancer doesn't take a holiday." Julie Grillone, who is the co-chair for the Relay for Life planning committee, believes it will be an epic event.

"Besides being a lot of fun, and being a great family event," said Grillone, "this event directly impacts the people of Barry County who need services offered by the American Cancer Society."

Money raised for the American Cancer Society during Relay events goes directly to cancer research. Money also goes toward gas cards, lodging assistance and other services for those battling cancer.

In the last fiscal year, the American Cancer Society has offered approximately $28,000 in services in Barry County.

There are many activities planned for this year's event, including the Survivor Lap, which will kick-off event festivities at noon. During the Survivor Lap, cancer survivors are invited to walk the first lap around the track while family and friends cheer them on. Live gospel music will be played during the opening lap.

Every hour there will also be a theme lap. This year's theme laps are based on holidays beginning with the New Year's Day lap in the first hour. Other theme laps include Valentines Day and Independence Day. The last lap will be Christmas themed.

This year's Relay for Life will also offer a Halloween costume contest at 7 p.m. The contest will take the place of the queen contest, which has been offered over the last several years. Costume contest participants will be challenged to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and entertain the Relay crowd.

The annual basket auction will be held at 2:30 p.m. Relay teams will design and auction off the baskets, with proceeds going toward the Relay for Life.

Other entertainment planned for the event includes: a martial arts demonstration at 3:30 p.m.; a fitness demonstration by Lopez Fitness at 5 p.m.; a performance by J Rock and the Third Street Band at 6:30 p.m.; and the luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m.

"For most people the luminaria ceremony is their favorite part of the evening," said Grillone. "It really brings together why everyone is there, why we're doing this and why everyone works so hard, participates and comes."

During the luminaria ceremony, participants are given an opportunity to honor friends and loved ones who have survived the battle with cancer, and memorialize those who have lost the fight.

The luminaria ceremony begins with a slide show, and then the luminaries are lit around the track. A silent lap is held in honor of those who have fought and are still fighting the battle with cancer.

Community members attending the Relay for Life should bring lawn chairs or blankets. The Relay for Life coordinators will have tents available to offer shade during the warm day.

In accordance with the Cassville School District's current track use policy, wheeled carts, strollers, wheelchairs and other similar devices are not allowed on the newly remodeled track. Grillone said that the Relay Committee will be available to assist individuals who are impacted by the new policy.

There are six teams and 120 participants signed up for the 2012 Relay for Life. One of the newest teams, Team Mary, was started by the family and friends of Mary Wilson who lost her fight with cancer last year. The team captain for Team Mary is Cindy Wilson.

For more information about the 2012 South Barry County Relay for Life or sign up as a participant, visit www.relayforlife.org and look for the South Barry County Relay for Life page.

In addition to participating in the Survivors Lap, those who are fighting or have won the battle against cancer are invited to attend the annual Survivors' Dinner, which will be held at 12:30 p.m.

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