Relay For Life continues push to support cancer research

Published 4:27 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

All across the globe, just about everyone knows an individual that has been impacted by cancer. From a national level, to right in Carter County, cancer knows no bounds. But every story told receives a bit of hope, thanks in part to the work put in by individuals involved with Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.

It’s a busy time of the year, but the joy is well worth it for Greg and Charity Odom. The duo co-chair the county’s Relay For Life chapter and have hit the ground running with the rest of the Relay For Life members to prepare for the upcoming June Relay Night by putting together various fundraisers. Each fundraiser organized raises money, which is then donated to assist with cancer research opportunities by ACS.

“It is a great thing to do, simply for the fact that you’re gaining so much experience being part of the event and seeing what people are going through,” Greg told the Elizabethton Star Wednesday morning. “You hear stories of what people have gone through. It’s a great way for the community to come together and bond over these moments and work toward finding a cure for cancer.

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“The fundraising efforts… the money goes toward amazing cancer research,” he continued. “Chemo, cancer drug research and all these treatments that people are able to use and see positive results from. These results come from the research from the American Cancer Society.”

The Odoms have seen the results firsthand with Charity being a cancer survivor. With so many moments over the years, the drive to build up the local Relay community continues to stay strong for the family, and the rest of the volunteers.

A variety of events are on the horizon to assist the initiative, according to Greg. This weekend, on June 2, Relay volunteers will post up at a pair of locations in the Stoney Creek community and near the McDonald’s in Hampton starting at 8 a.m. to raise funds by holding roadblocks. Odom added that volunteers can assist with the roadblocks, but have to be above the age of 18 for safety precautions.

One of the upcoming fundraisers also had to receive a red light. Relay For Life was going to host a family movie night this week at the Stateline Drive-In, but rescheduled it for August 2 due to the recent strand of inclement weather that’s hit the region.

“Andy (Wetzel) with the Drive-In was more than willing to work with us on that,” Greg said. “We decided to focus more on being an end-of-the-year event and have something for children as they get ready to go back to school.”

Survivors will also be highlighted during the first half of June. The Relay co-chair indicated that spots still remain for the survivors’ dinner, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 12, at TCAT – Elizabethton with doors expected to open at 6 p.m. and the actual event to follow an hour later.

“Those that have received invitations, we ask them to RSVP,” Greg said. “And if someone is a survivor but has not received an invitation, we ask them to let us know as soon as possible.”

Individuals wanting to know more about the event or to reserve a spot can call (423) 292-3611.

All of these events lead up to the June 22 Relay night, which gets underway at 6 p.m. at TCAT and lasts throughout the night. Teams are encouraged to register to participate while the public will be treated to various vendors and other types of free entertainment.

Luminaria bags — items that will be placed throughout the night to remember those that lost their lives to cancer, cancer survivors and caregivers — and Relay HOPE Cards, which offer discounted food opportunities at local restaurants, are still available. Bags are $5 while cards are $10 and can be purchased from a Relay member.

To get involved with the organization’s efforts, visit the Relay For Life Carter County website or check out the Relay For Life Of Carter County, Tn Facebook page. Jessica Poff, ACS community development manager for the county, can also be reached at (423) 534-1616.