After my bout with cancer, in 2005 I went out to the Relay for Life to walk as a survivor. They presented me with a purple survivor T-shirt, and as I looked around and saw many other people who had been or were presently fighting the same battle, I found that short walk to be very, very inspirational. So if you are a survivor or a caretaker, we urge you to plan to be a part of this year’s event, which will take place on Friday at Fullerton-Garitty Park. The survivor’s walk will kick off the events at 7 p.m. Scooters and golf carts will be available for those who need them.

Relay for Life is a fun-filled, non-smoking, non-alcoholic fund-raiser with all of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society, which has funded over one billion dollars in research for the treatment and cure. Their goal is to reduce cancer deaths by 50 percent by the year 2015, and it’s working. In 2005, there were less cancer deaths reported for the first time ... ever! They also research methods and procedures to lessen the pain and side effects of this dreaded disease and it’s treatments.

It’s a time of celebration! Except for the reverence due during the luminary walk, which honors survivors and remembers those who have died from cancer, it’s a very festive atmosphere with entertainment and clean fun for children of all ages.

There are 23 teams signed up to participate. The theme for this celebration is “A Night at the Oscars,” and teams will have their campsites decorated accordingly. My team, Mildred Baptist Church, has chosen as our slogan, “Let’s see cancer ‘Gone With the Wind,’” so come on out and see Rhett and Scarlett. We will also be sponsoring Children’s Olympics for the young ones. You may also participate in the dunking booth and several other games from other teams.

Entertainment on the amphitheater begins at 6 p.m., and at various times will include everything from school bands to gospel groups to disco. There will be plenty of food choices, everything from a fish fry to funnel cakes, and cold drinks will be plentiful.

You will have opportunity to purchase raffle tickets from several of the teams, and there will be some auctions. Look for “Miss Relay,” who will be male contestants dressed as women walking through the park.

A “wall of hope” will be displayed that you can sign that will be taken to Washington in September, along with about 10,000 others, to lobby for better insurance benefits, such as paid mammograms and other preventive measures.

Of course the relay walk is of primary importance. Each team has a baton, and it is to be carried on the walk consistently from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday, to emphasize that cancer never sleeps and neither should the fight against it. The lap is .8 miles, so come out and walk a lap or two for a team. Be sure to tell the counter at the end of the walk which team you’re representing.

Statistics say cancer will strike one out of every three people at some time in their lifetime, so even though your life may not directly be touched by it now, it’s possible that whatever you do to support events such as this will come back to benefit you or your own loved one someday. So come out and support this very worthy cause. I’m certain you’ll enjoy it.

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Dot Reynolds is the education/advocacy chairman for the Navarro County Relay for Life.

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