By Lisa Brown
The American Cancer Society sponsors an annual Relay for Life, bringing together survivors, friends, families, and caregivers to celebrate the lives of those who have battled, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. On Saturday, May 16, the local relay is returning to Richland Creek Community Church on Burlington Mills Road in Wake Forest.
Recruitment for teams from the Rolesville, Wake Forest, and northern Wake County area from businesses, schools, families, places of worship, and neighborhoods is underway.
Marty Coward, the Relay’s co-chair, says he is hoping to recruit more teams and sponsors this year to help raise awareness and money for those battling the disease.
Each year more than 4 million people in 20 countries take part in the global event and raise much needed funds and awareness. Relay teams set up campsites along a track and take turns walking in honor of friends, family, or loved ones who have battled cancer. Cancer survivors and caregivers walk the first lap, after which team members join in and have at least one participant walking at all times.
Roger and Peggy Scott, the Marga-Relay-Ville coordinators, had 60 registered runners with 54 crossing the finish line. This was the second year they held a 5K. Dave Mead, the course director, used the same course he had for a previous running club, which winds its way through downtown. This year the Scotts added the relay hoping to garner more interest and options for people who did not want to run the entire 5K individually.
The Scotts have had friends and family members affected by cancer, and see this as a way to help. They have participated in the Relay for Life since 2003, and starting the Marga-Relay-Ville was another way they felt they could make a difference.
“We’re learning a lot as we go, and next year we hope to get even more participants,” Roger Scott says.
Four million people participated in more than 6,000 events worldwide in 2014, and thus far the North Wake Relay has 19 teams and 123 participants who have raised over $17,000.
In the past, the event was held overnight, but this year participants will be out from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the 16th, rain or shine.
An estimated $5 billion has been raised globally to date, and the funds are used for research, the Hope Lodge (a free place for patients and families to stay during cancer treatment), Road to Recovery (an all-volunteer ride service taking patients to and from appointments), Look Good, Feel Better (assisting women who are undergoing changes during chemo), and Reach to Recovery (a support system linking survivors with those in the midst of treatment).
The American Cancer Society wants everyone to understand the importance of the Relay and the money it raises. It’s not just one type of cancer participants are fighting. It’s about living in a world where this disease will no longer threaten our loved ones or rob anyone of another birthday.
Coward emphasizes that point, stating that the Relay’s goal is to “unite communities and celebrate those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to fight cancer once and for all.
“I am excited to register more teams this year and to be one step closer to saving more lives,” he says.
To join or donate to an existing team Click Here.