Twenty years ago, the first Relay For Life event was held in Lewis County, and on June 9, Relay For Life once again took place in Lewis County honoring those who have lost their lives to cancer, those living with cancer, and those who are in remission.
This year the Lewis County event raised $50,752.82. The event began early Saturday morning for the teams by organizing and decorating their campsites to coincide with the theme of Relay, “On the Hunt for a Cure”.
Teams had a wide array of fundraising at their campsites including a Yeti Cooler Raffle, Wooden Table Raffle, Primitive Raffle, concession stand, Crochet Safari Animals, basket bash, and more.
At 5 p.m., survivors checked in at the Survivor tent, received their t-shirt for the year, and enjoyed fellowship with other fellow cancer survivors.
Susan Thompson, Event Lead, welcomed attendees to the event and thanked committee members for the work that they have done all year long.
The Lewis County Honor Guard Presented the Colors, while students from Leading Creek Elementary School recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Kathy Sutton sand the National Anthem and Jay Burkhart said a prayer to open then event.
Roberta Garton read the American Cancer Society Mission statement and afterward cancer survivors received their pins and were introduced.
The first lap of Relay is symbolically completed by the cancer survivors and their caregivers. This year the cancer survivors and caregivers started in opposite directions walking the track, met at the 50-yard line, then proceeded across the field reconnecting with their loved one.
Teams then joined in on the walking and the first whole lap was welcomed with teams and their banners or signs walking one lap as a team.
Clog dancers Shyanna James danced for about 30 minutes for the event.
Children from the teams performed a variety of songs including “True Colors” and some country hits.
About 25 people participated in the crazy hat themed lap, where participants created a variety of silly hat designs and walked around the track. Chaeli Gum won the award of Craziest Hat. Her hat was created by her grandfather who is a cancer survivor.
Starting at the Survivor Dinner Relay king and queen candidates started raising money for the event. They king and queen candidate who raised the most money for the event where crowned the 2018 King and Queen of Relay. Those were Kenny Kincaid who raised over $200 and Micah Ford who raised over $1,200.
Afterwards, Jeffrey Wayne a local musician performed songs from his upcoming album, which releases this summer.
The Road to Recovery Grand Prix took place in which teams created a cardboard box car to carry a “patient” (a raw egg) to the finish line, symbolizing the American Cancer Society and their Road to Recovery program, which helps families with travel and gives cancer patients rides to appointments for no charge.
The Luminaria ceremony took place and that started with the lighting of the luminaria bags spelling out HOPE. Loved ones then lit their luminaria bags for those they have lost, those who have cancer, and those who are in remission. Attendees then walked around the track in silence in remembrance.
The event concluded with Sherry Craig leading those who remained at the track in the Circle of Hope. The Circle of Hope is an opportunity for those who Relay to tell the world why they Relay. Reasons stemmed from family members or friends who have passed away from cancer, or who currently have cancer, or for themselves and their own battles with cancer.
On Monday, June 25, Relay For Life of Lewis County will have a wrap-up party, at the Weston Steakhouse at 6 p.m., to discuss the event and things that they could do differently at next year’s event.