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Relay for Life organizers pleased with efforts, $30,000 is raised

Cool temperatures and unexpected rain interrupted the length of Friday’s Relay for Life, but not the enthusiasm of the participants.
There were 11 teams of walkers, who circled Davis Park in support of the American Cancer Society to help raise awareness and money for the organization from 6 p.m. until 10:30 p.m., about 90 minutes shy of the scheduled ending. “It was great! Having it at Davis Park, it feels like you’re at a family reunion,” says Jackie Pearson, event leader.
Pearson is an enthusiastic organizer of the event who says she is passionate about supporting the Cancer Society for the resources it provides. “It’s something that I believe in. People need help. We have a lot of programs out there that people just don’t know about,” she says.
In support of those programs, Grady County has so far raised $30,000 towards its $37,000 goal this year, and more fund raising time is available to add to that total. The deadline is Aug. 31.
Many entertainers donated their time to Friday’s Rally, including the Cairo High School Pep Band who performed “Battle Hymn” in honor of Joe David, beloved former CHS band director who died late last year of cancer. Other performers were Bobby Newmons, Amanda and Jeff Davis, Jennifer Evans, and the Praise Dancers of Off Broadstreet Centre for the Dance Arts.
Teams of walkers were: Cairo High School, Eastside Elementary School, Northside Elementary School, Shiver School, Washington Middle School, Whigham School, Grady County’s Finest (cancer survivors and caretakers), Little Bethel AME Church, Lula Bell Johnson, Koyo, and Fighting for Blue.
“We want to thank the local merchants that made it possible for every (cancer) survivor to have a gift at the survivor’s supper,” says Pearson.
Sponsors of the Relay were: Koyo, Grady EMC, Stallings Motors, Kingdom Insurance Group, Wal-Mart, Royce’s Towing and Recovery, Inc., Hobson Chevrolet Buick, Mr. Chick, Cairo Medical Center, Quail Ridge Family Practice and United National Bank.
“In-Kind” sponsors were: City of Cairo, Starlight Mobile DJ’s, New Hire Solutions, Pine Hill Baptist Church, Grady County Sheriff’s Office, Annell’s Flower Shop, Monrovia, The Cairo Messenger, and WGRA-790-AM.
Organizers of the Relay, which used the theme of “Giving Cancer the Boot,” were: Jackie Pearson, Sherry Smith, Lisa Ezell, Marty Smith, Jeff Ezell, Larry Anderson, Gene Lashley, Cindy Watson, Sue Brown Wright, Katie Williams, Sharon Prince, Lois Swanner, Lula Bell Johnson and Jan Westberg.
Pearson says plans are already in the works for next year’s Relay, which will have a theme of “Light up the Night, Finish the Fight.” She says the committee wants to invite more members, and anyone who would like to volunteer should come to the Relay kickoff event at Grady County Senior Center on Oct. 17, at 6 p.m. “We’re really excited about the upcoming year. We’re going to start planning in June,” Pearson says. “We are looking to add more committee members and we want to recruit more teams. We are going to be doing training to help us be more effective in our community. We want people to know we have leadership here to help them get in touch with the right people to get the help they need.”
For more information, contact Jackie Pearson via email at or phone at 229-221-5823.

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