Committee gears up for Relay
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
Relay for Life is a celebration that is more than a fundraiser, and committee members and teams have been tirelessly working to make this year's event a fun way to increase cancer awareness in the community.
The number of teams is up this year, which shows the community is still positive about this 18-hour event, chairman Paula Gerety said.
Teams include Southern Pine, Smurfit Stone, Jefferson Davis Community College, Wal-Mart, Escambia County Courthouse, Brewton Elementary School, T. R. Miller High School SGA, W. S. Neal High School NEA, Brewton Sportsmen Club, Comfort Care Hospice, NDI, D.W. McMillan Hospital, First United Methodist Church and St. Stephens Episcopal Church. They have been holding fundraisers ranging from selling pink bunny pins to the traditional meal on the go to help the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer.
In an attempt to make this year's event unique, committee members have added new activities and entertainment.
Activities will include Relay Idol, a Newlywed game and a womanless beauty pageant, which was a huge success at last year's event. Teams are also required to have one activity of their choice to fill up time during the event.
For teams who are having a hard time coming up with an activity, Martin advises teams to “make it funny, make it cute.”
For Relay Idol, each team has to have a contestant to represent their team. Gerety said that if a team finds they have nobody on their team to contribute, recruiting an Idol is allowed. For the Newlywed game, the only requirement for entry is that the couple must be married for at least two years.
Bank night has been scheduled the night of the event, in which teams can turn in their money at Regions Bank at 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Money can be turned in up until 10 p.m., but it will not go toward the team's cache, Gerety said.
Martin advises everyone to brush up on their cancer facts. Throughout the night she will be quizzing teams on various facts. Each correct answer earns a team Relay bucks. Awards will be handed out for best campsite, best cancer facts, team cheer, most money raise and Spirit of Relay.
The highlight of the event is the luminaria service held after dark to honor cancer survivors and to remember those who have lost their battle against cancer. The luminaria line the indoor track at the Brewton YMCA and are left burning throughout the night to remind participants of the incredible importance of their contribution.
Last year, the American Cancer Society contributed more than $130 million to cancer research. It was announced this year that for the first time in 70 years cancer related deaths have dropped.
This year's Relay for Life event will be held at noon on March 18 at the Brewton YMCA.