Relay for Life tonight at Fairgrounds

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Superheroes will be battling cancer at the Coweta County Fairgrounds tonight at the Relay for Life.

“Superheroes” is the theme for this year’s Relay, a 12-hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

As of Thursday, there are 81 teams, with 822 participants, registered for the event.

It’s not too late to get involved. You can register at the fairgrounds today beginning at 4:30 p.m.

You don’t have to walk to participate. Many teams will be offering food and games for a small donation. Luminarias will be set up around the track, with the names of those who have battled cancer. There will also be a special pet luminaria section.

There’s still time to get your luminarias. You can order them at the fairgrounds from 5 to 7 p.m. The cost is $10 for a white luminaria, $25 for a gold one, or $100 for a “torch of hope.” Payment can be made by cash or check.

The opening ceremonies will be held at 7, followed by the Survivor Lap. There will be special themed laps every hour.

There will be entertainment including the Ken Scott Magic Show. There will also be the MISSter Relay contest, where male team members dress up like a beauty queen and strut their stuff to raise extra money.

Relay for Life continues through the night, with the Victory Lap at 6:45 a.m. Saturday. Not all those participating stay through the night, but a member of each team is supposed to be on the track at all times.

“There are a ton of activities at this relay,” said Gina Bitetti, senior specialist with the American Cancer Society. As the night goes on, “things will get a little bit quieter, but not fully,” she said.

This year’s event chairmen are Melissa Polston, Jackie Phillips and Terry Black. Nathan Nipper of Piedmont Newnan Hospital is the honorary chairman.

All funds raised will benefit the American Cancer Society. Money goes toward both cancer research and ACS’s “mission services.” Those include Hope Lodges, located in major cities, where cancer patients can stay free of charge while receiving treatment at research centers in the area; the Road to Recovery program; the online Cancer Resource Network, which is “sort of like an online support group,” and the ACS’s toll free help line, which is manned 24/7, said Bitetti.

“People can get all kinds of info, they can talk to a cancer information specialist, get information about programs and services in their area,” Bitetti said. “It’s amazing sometimes the help people are able to get through our call center. “

Since 1946, the ACS has donated $4 billion to cancer reach, and 47 researchers that ACS has funded have gone on to win the Nobel Prize for Scientific Research, Bitetti said.

You can reach the National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 or live chat on www.cancer.org.

For more information about Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org .



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