Relay for Life is this Friday

Grady County’s Relay for Life is kicking off its annual event in a new location Friday, downtown Cairo’s Davis Park. The park, located behind Roddenbery Memorial Library, will serve as the backdrop to the annual event, which supports the work of the American Cancer Society. Hundreds of tennis shoe clad walkers will pound the park’s track to remind folks that cancer is still without a cure, and that donations help research to continue.
Teams of volunteers have spent recent months raising money to participate in the Relay, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday with Master of Ceremonies Michael Best. “Michael volunteers his time each year and Relay would not be the same without him and DJ Stan Mobley with Starlight,” says Sharon Prince, a longtime Relay volunteer.
There are 15 teams registered to be on site with walkers and team sites. This year’s theme is “We’re Off to Find a Cure” from the Wizard of Oz.
Other friends and supporters are encouraged to participate. “Please come out and support the teams and the committee and honor cancer survivors and caregivers, as well as remember those we have lost to cancer and those currently fighting the fight,” says Prince.
The always anticipated “Luminary Ceremony” begins after sunset at 9 p.m., with luminaries lighted around the track. Luminaries may be purchased in honor or memory of people. Best will announce these special names at this time. Luminaries may be purchased the night of the event.
In addition to the walkers circling the park, local performers will also entertain the crowds on hand. The FIRM Dance Company will perform at 6:30 p.m., Jackie Moye and Kevin Salter will sing at 8:20 p.m., Jeff Davis will entertain at 9:45 p.m.
Also at 9:45 p.m., the “Race to Recovery” begins with each team “building” a vehicle and teams of two racing around the site to reflect the trials and travels cancer patients face in getting to doctor and treatment appointments. “This is always a hilarious event,” Prince says.
Volunteers working year round to organize the Relay are coordinated by Jackie Pearson, event lead, and the following committee members: Sharon Prince and Lois Swanner, luminary committee; Chastity Cox, corporate sponsorship; Sherry Smith, survivor chair; Jan Westberg, school recruitment; Katie Williams, entertainment chair; Susan Wright, hospitality; and Lula Bell Johnson, in-kind sponsorship.
Corporate sponsors of the event include: Cairo Medical Care, LLC; Grady EMC; Hobson Chevrolet; Ira Higdon Grocery; Quail Ridge Family Practice, LLC; The Law Office of Joshua Bell; Koyo; Stallings Motors; Johnny’s Auto Sales; Zaxby’s; Five Star Credit Union and United National Bank.
In-kind sponsors include: The Cairo Messenger; City of Cairo; Starlight Mobile DJ’s; New Hire Solutions; WGRA-AM-790; Annell’s; Miss Myrt’s and Faith Christian Church.
Organizing volunteers say they are looking forward to the Relay’s new venue, which they say has some lighting and will have security on site. The event is alcohol and tobacco free.
The Relay for Life Cancer Survivor dinner was held Saturday, April 23, at Faith Christian Center.
Relay volunteers thanked Sherry Smith and Pastor Bill Staten and the Faith Christian congregation who provided the meal, music and decor. Desserts were donated by volunteers of Pine Hill Church.
Many local businesses had donated door prizes for the survivors who were appreciative of the support shown for them. Among the door prizes were the centerpieces from Annell’s. The color of Relay was apparent in the table covers and napkins provided by Miss Myrt’s.
The American Cancer Society is the leading organization for cancer research on treatments and medications. Many Grady County residents have received benefits from the ACS as a result of Grady County’s support of the Relay for Life.
For more information about Relay or the ACS, contact the regional office in Albany at 229-446-0986. The toll free number for ACS is 1-800-227-2345 where anyone can get information on cancer treatments, available help with travel, lodging, medication, etc.

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