Relay for Life fundraiser Friday

by Sarah Fay Campbell

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Members of 'Cissy's Army' rest in the team tent area at Coweta Relay for Life 2013. They were walking in support of Cissy Hass. From left are, front, Linda Martindale, Cissy Hass, Ann Phillips and Brian Hass; middle, Linda Isaac, June Beers, Angie Tarkenton, Roz Elliot, Kim Weatherly; and back, Laura Nogaj and Debbi Fuchs. 

Friday will be a day to Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back at the annual Relay for Life.

Relay is a 12 hour fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. But it’s about more than just raising money. It’s a way to celebrate the lives of those who are surviving cancer, and to remember those who have finished the fight. It’s a time for fun and fellowship, and not a little silliness.

The event kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. at the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Pine Road south of Newnan. Directly after the opening ceremonies, there will be the Survivor Lap, a lap taken by those who are surviving cancer and their caregivers. The closing ceremonies will be held at 4 a.m. Saturday.

There are 80 teams signed up to participate, with 748 individual participants. So far, they have raised $79,923.

One of the ways that the event celebrates remembrance is through the luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. Friday. Luminarias – white paper bags with glow sticks – are arrayed along the relay route and lighted during the ceremony. There is also a section for pet luminarias.

And there is the memory garden, a place of comfort and reflection. The memory garden tent features a slideshow of photos of those who have finished their battle with cancer. Those who purchase a luminaria are invited to submit photos for the memory garden.

White luminarias are $10, gold ones are $25, and a “torch of hope” is $100.

For more information on the luminarias or memory garden, you can download a form from the Relay for Life Coweta website, http://bit.ly/1fpkhdi, or search on Google for “Coweta Relay for Life.”

Contact Zan Riede at 770-254-9706 or zariede@hughes.net for more information about luminarias. You can also order your luminaria online by clicking on “event details” and scrolling down to “dedicate a luminaria."

Dora Hayes has been participating in Relay for Life for many years as a member of the Coweta County employees team.

“My grandfather passed away from cancer. My daddy is a two-time survivor,” Hayes said. “It is wonderful to go down there and walk that first lap with him.”

“I usually cry the first couple of laps,” she said. “Then I get happy and stay happy.”

The team does lots of fundraisers throughout the year. “Our ‘touch a trucks’ are famous at Chick-fil-A. We do yard sales, and sell chances on things,” she said. “We have a great team.”

Over the years, cancer has touched the lives of many Coweta County employees. “We’ve lost some special folks to cancer,” Hayes said, and some team members are widows or widowers of those who lost their lives to cancer.

“It has touched every life. It really does,” Hayes said.

“I’m just glad that it is not a death sentence anymore,” she said. “We fight it and fight it well. I’m praying for a cure in my lifetime."



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