BarCo Relay for Life hosts event

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Cancer survivors took the opening lap at Friday’s Barry County Relay for Life in Monett. Caregiver Kaylie Allen, left, joined survivors Connie Meeks and Lisa Lamp for the second lap arm in arm. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat

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Local effort highlighted by memorial ceremony, games

More than 50 people gathered at the Monett Middle/Intermediate School FEMA shelter on Friday to continue Monett's tradition of hosting the Barry County Relay for Life.

The "do-it-yourself" Relay, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, was conducted without a community coordinator from the ACS. Organizers said they wished to continue the Relay mission rather than have the program fade away. The local committee, headed by Sherry Hull, offered a four-hour event that included games, fundraising opportunities and a reflective ceremony to remember those who have battled cancer in the past and those who continue the fight.

"No matter why you take part in Relay, one thing is clear," said Darrin Henson, committee member. "With every step you take, you help the American Cancer Society save lives. Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing that you are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten lives of our loved ones."

Following the posting of flags by cadets from the JROTC program at the Scott Regional Technology Center, committee members were introduced and extended thanks to local companies that agreed to serve as sponsors for this year's event. Committee member Kaylie Allen noted that 11 million cancer survivors can be found in America today, a testament to progress made against the disease.

Activities began with a walking lap around the meeting hall by local cancer survivors, then a lap as they were joined by caregivers, followed by all the participants. Participants then engaged with vendors offering a range of products, shopped at the silent auction and played games.

Hull said she felt the event went well despite what she considered to be a small turnout. Eight teams participated this year.

"The games were a big hit," Hull said. "Relay Rugby was a big success. The frozen T-shirt contest was very interesting. We'll definitely do that again."

Highlight of the evening was the memorial ceremony. Jay Apostol showed the slideshow with music of faces gathered for recognition over the past decade, added to each year.

"It's exciting to see the faces again," Apostol said.

Following the presentation, participants left the building to walk a lap around the sidewalk with lighted luminaria, many with special messages written on them.

"Tonight is not the end of Relay events," Hull said. "We've talked about having more events, including a 5K in the fall. We have seven more months in the year. Follow our Facebook page for updates."

Hull said details about fundraising had not yet been tabulated.

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