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The 2008 Clark County Relay for Life was held Saturday evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. and closed at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The eleven plus hours was filled with picture perfect weather, fantastic community involvement, good food and lots of good entertainment.
The evening began with a Welcome and prayer by the 2008 Relay Chair, Paula Fox. Travis Mathes, Master of Ceremonies introduced the special speaker, Lori Rupp, who is the American Cancer Society Hero of Hope for the region that includes Clark County. Lori gave an informative talk regarding how important early detection can be for cancer patients and shared her own story to illustrate.
Lori’s presentation was followed by a CELEBRATION of cancer SURVIVORS, by recognizing over 80 survivors as they made the first lap walking around the square carrying a banner and releasing balloons. Charlotte Fox, Survivor’s Lap Chairman, read the names of each survivor and how many years since their first diagnosis. Survivors were cheered as they walked the track and were greeted with handshakes, pats on the back and refreshments as they finished their lap.
Once an hour, prior to the luminaria service, an educational moment was given by Debbie Whiston, Mission Chair. The American Cancer Society stresses the importance of education, as prevention to cancer and for this reason Relay is an excellent place to present this education. The Smokebusters team has a mission to educate everyone about the harmful effects of smoking and they assisted with one of the three educational moments presented during the evening.
Six good sports competed for the Queen of Relay with roars of laughter filling the air. The final tally of donations for queen resulted in Colt Summers, the Lifesavers candidate, taking home top honors for the third straight year.
The theme basket committee chaired by Bonnie Brewer out did theirselves this year. We had 20 baskets to auction with a total auction of over $1600.00. Basket themes were of a great variety with the McDaniel’s team basket donation selling for over $400.00. Eric Anders from Downing, Missouri graciously donated of his time to serve as auctioneer since our local Clark County auctioneers had prior commitments.
This year a slight change was made in the luminaria service. Family and friends were who wished to light the luminaria they purchased were given 15-20 minutes to light them. After this time period the luminaria committee completed lighting the luminaria so that all were lit by 9 p.m. Once all were lit, Marilyn Martin, Luminaria Chair, presented a moving service assisted by many community members in which a candle was lit on stage representing all those who are touched by cancer. As the candles glowed in the dusk, Marilyn read the names of all those honored or remembered by a luminaria while a slide show scrolled the over 800 names. Moving background music gave everyone a chance to reflect and REMEMBER just how many people in our small portion of the country are touched by cancer.
As usual stiff competition marked the Lip Sync competition with six of the nine teams competing. Top honors were awarded to the Hunting for A Cure Team with their rendition of “Proud Mary” by Ike & Tina Turner.
New to the relay this year was a “Fight Back Ceremony.” This portion of the relay encourages individuals to “FIGHT BACK” by pledging to save a life. To save a life all anyone needs to do is something as simple as encouraging someone to have a colonoscopy, a mammogram or to read a pamphlet about early detection. Everyone in attendance was asked to come forward and make a pledge and to carry a fight back flag to remind us that there is something we can do as individuals.
Team awards were presented by Delma Smith, team coordinator. Most Money Raised: The Randy McDaniel Family & Friends team with over $10,000.00; Best Campsite: Lifesavers Team; Happy Camper Award: Debbie Conger for her energetic fundraising and support of relay.
At midnight the Junior Tuesday Club scavenger hunt had teams making a mad dash around town for clues and activities. The Smokebusters team reigned victorious completing the scavenger hunt in record time.
The Lifesavers team for the 2nd year started the team games in the early morning hours with the ever-popular “American Idol” competition with famous judges on hand to give their unique analysis of each act. Each team had a game prepared for the other teams. They included a team ski walk, monkey in the middle, backseat driver, and two different types of relays.
At 4:30 a.m. Cheryl Brammer, Track Coordinator reported over 180 walkers had registered with top honors for the most laps by team members being presented to Aaron Macomber for 96 laps and to Starla Shaffer for 60 laps. Cheryl and her committee, Deborah Dienst and Donna Drummond expressed great appreciation to all the volunteers who helped punch lap cards during the evening.
At dawn Pastor Shawn McAfee gave a closing meditation that touched the hearts of all participants in the 2008 Relay for Life. As participants left the service and headed home a double rainbow could be seen in the western sky, a fitting end to a successful 2008 Relay with a total fundraising at this writing of over $29,000.00.