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Relay for Life seeks cancer survivors

By Kathy Chaffin
Salisbury Post
Calling all Rowan County cancer survivors: Your presence is requested at the 14th annual Relay for Life on May 2-3.
Brooke Moose, senior community manager for the American Cancer Society, said the county is hoping to win the Pack the Track Award by having the largest percentage of cancer survivors to participate in the Survivor Roll Call.
Statistics from the American Cancer Society indicate there are almost 4,500 cancer survivors in Rowan County. Last year, however, Moose said, there were only about 350 participants in the roll call, around 8 percent of the total number of survivors.
The poor turnout was probably due to the rainy weather, she said.
Tisha Goodwin, chairwoman of the Relay for Life Committee, said getting more survivors to the fundraiser is the main goal for 2008.
“We’d love for them to come and be recognized and let everyone celebrate their hard work,” Goodwin said.
Cancer survivors may begin signing up for the roll call at 5 p.m. at the registration table at the entrance.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the Survivors Roll Call, during which registered survivors walk the opening lap of Relay while their names are called. Moose said golf carts will be available for any survivors who are unable to walk.
Goodwin said some people think they’re not considered a survivor until they’re through with treatments. “But that’s not true,” she said. “You’re a survivor from the moment you’re diagnosed with cancer.”
So far, Moose said, about 300 people have registered for the annual Survivors’ Dinner, scheduled for April 22 at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA on Jake Alexander Boulevard. The dinner, which is being prepared by Wittenberg Lutheran Church of Granite Quarry, will start at 5:15 p.m.
Survivors who plan to attend need to register with Brooke Moose at 704-675-5082 by this Friday.
April 22 is also the designated Paint the County Purple Day. County residents and businesses are encouraged to put large purple bows on their mailboxes and storefronts as a show of support for the annual American Cancer Society fundraiser.
“We’d just like to see everything purple,” Goodwin said. The bows are available from Brooke Moose and Relay committee members and teams for a $5 donation.
Luminaries in honor and memory of cancer survivors can be purchased now or at the event for $10. Goodwin said people will be able to decorate their own bags this year if they buy the luminaries in advance.
“They’re so much easier to see at the Relay if you do it yourself,” she said. “I saw this in Asheboro and just loved it.”
The luminaries are put out and lit just before sunset on May 2.
So far, 72 teams have registered to participate in Relay for Life, according to Mary Knapp, publicity chairperson for the committee. During the event, teams try to keep at least one member walking or running on the track at all times.
The theme for this year’s fundraiser is “Racing for Relay.” Among the scheduled events is a lawn mower race.
About 7,000 people participated in last year’s Relay for Life, Goodwin said, which was lower than previous years, again probably because of the weather.
The Relay for Life Committee has set a $400,000 goal for this year. Last year, the event raised $379,000 for cancer research.
The Rowan County Relay for Life begins on May 2, a Friday, at 6 p.m. and lasts until 8 a.m. on May 3. For more information about the Rowan event, call Brooke Moose at 704-675-5082 or e-mail Goodwin, the committee chair, at tishgood07@yahoo.com.
For more information on Relay for Life, log on to www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249 or kchaffin@salisburypost.com.

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