Relay For Life set for Friday night
Published 1:57 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016
On Friday night, Carter County’s Relay For Life will kick off at a new home but the message will remain the same — HOPE.
Each year, Carter County Relay For Life hosts this special event as a way to show support to those who have battled cancer, those who are currently battling the disease and those who have lost someone to cancer. The event also serves as a way to raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s work to find a cure for the disease.
This year’s Relay will take place at the track at T.A. Dugger Junior High School. The event will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday and continue throughout the night until 6 a.m. on Saturday. Normally the Relay For Life is held at the track at Elizabethton High School but the event had to be moved this year due to the fact the track is currently under renovation.
After the opening ceremony, the Relay will begin with the Survivors Lap.
“During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by the other participants who line the track,” said Mark Fine, one of the organizers for the event. “Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give time, love, and support to their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers facing cancer.”
After dark, the track will be lined with glowing candles as part of the Luminaria Ceremony, Fine said.
“The Luminaria Ceremony takes place after dark, so we can remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues,” Fine said. “Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who’ve been affected by cancer.”
Another important part of the event will be the “Fight Back Ceremony” according to Fine.
“This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action,” he said. “The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.”
Those three events —the Survivor’s Lap, Luminaria Ceremony, and Fight Back Ceremony — are very moving and emotional, Fine said. “It kind of tugs at your heartstrings to see it,” he added.
The Relay will once again feature the popular Glow Run 5k, which will kick off at 9:30 p.m. Participants in the Glow Run don glow-in-the-dark items like bracelets and necklaces and hit the streets after the sun goes down. “It goes from T.A. Dugger through downtown and back up to T.A. Dugger,” Fine said.
Over the years Carter County Relay For Life has seen a lot of support from the community not only through participation but financially as well, Fine said.
“The number of teams changes every year,” Fine said. “It keeps going up, which is a good thing.”
So far, 23 teams have signed up to take part in Friday’s Relay, but Fine said registration is still open through Thursday so more teams can sign up if they choose. “It’s always a great turn out for new teams,” he said.
Not only has the number of participants grown, Fine said the amount raise each year has also grown. This year, Fine said Carter was the only county in the area to see an increase in the amount of money raised.
“As of today we’ve raised $25,000,” he said. “Our number one team right now is Snap-On of Elizabethton and they have raised about $4,200. Our second place team has raised about $3,000.”
With the change in venue for the Relay, Fine said there will be some changes to the parking situation participants are normally used to.
“The parking is basically going to be like it was when they had football games at T.A. Dugger. People will be parking in the side streets,” Fine said. “We are doing reserved parking for handicap and survivors in the parking lot at the school.”
Because participants will have to park on the side street of the residential area surrounding the school, Fine said Relay For Life members recently went door-to-door throughout the neighborhood to speak with residents about the upcoming event and explain why there will be the increased traffic and parking on Friday night.
For more information on the Relay For Life event, to register a team or to sign up for the Glow Run 5k, contact Amy Hopson with the local office of the American Cancer Society by calling 423-282-7011 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.