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Excitement growing for 2014 Relay for Life

The annual Carter County Relay for Life will begin tonight at the Elizabethton High School track and as the walkers 3-Relay-LightingLumineria_DSC3611-300x295make their laps, they will celebrating the years of survival for Carter County cancer patients.
The theme for this year’s Relay is “Decades of Hope,” and the fundraising goal for the Carter County Relay for Life is $125,000, which will go to the American Cancer Society for support for local cancer patients and for research toward a cure.
Carter County publicity chair Kathy Thomason said that so far, $42,375.81 has been raised. She said that did not include the close to $3,000 that was raised during the roadblocks that were held a few weeks ago.
Thomason said there was more community support for the Relay this year than the organization had seen in the past.
“There has been more excitement over the past couple of weeks,” Thomason said. “Having new teams involved is exciting. We are sorry that people have to be affected by cancer before they understand what the Relay for Life is all about.”
Thomason said that each team in the Relay was touched in some way by cancer, whether having members who have been diagnosed with the disease themselves or having family and friends that had been.
“It would be wonderful to have a team that had never been touched by cancer,” she said.
Thomason has been faced with a cancer diagnosis five times: four basal cell carcinomas and once with breast cancer.
“I know what a cancer diagnosis can do,” Thomason said. “I know how devastating it can be to hear those words. I don’t want people to have to go through that.”
That ultimately is the goal of the Relay for Life: to find a cure for cancer so families will no longer have to battle the disease.
“I would love that one day we no longer have a job to do,” Thomason said. “Our goal is for cancer to be cured. I don’t want our children’s children to even know what cancer is. It affects young people. It is not a respecter of persons.”
The Carter County Relay for Life’s 37 teams will be on the EHS track from 5:30 p.m. until 7 a.m. Relayers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to watch the entertainment. Smoking and tobacco products are not allowed at the Relay, and pets, bicycles, scooters, skateboards and roller blades are also not allowed.
Thomason warned that parking might be an issue for Relayers, as the carnival is being held in the EHS parking lot. She said a golf cart and ATV would be on hand to help shuttle Relayers to the track who need assistance traveling from parking spaces that are farther away.