Relay for Life ‘off to a good start’

 2015 event set for Friday, May 8

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Previous coverage
* Fighting for ‘a place where cancer does not exist’

At last year’s Relay for Life of Richmond County, Allyssa Jordyn Beck stood with her parents at the entrance of Cole Auditorium at Richmond Community College and shared her story with the hundreds of people in attendance.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The survivors’ lap in May 2014 was emotional, one mixed with laughter and tears of both sadness and joy. Pictured is survivor Kristi O’Boyle, left, with mother Mary Ellen Shea.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The survivors’ lap in May 2014 was emotional, one mixed with laughter and tears of both sadness and joy. Pictured is survivor Kristi O’Boyle, left, with mother Mary Ellen Shea.

And at one point early in the six-hour program, loved ones walked a lap in memory of those who had lost their battles with cancer.

This year, people will be walking for Jordyn. The 22-year-old mother of Maddison Paige, 5, passed way Jan. 22. Jordyn twice fought back from cancer; a third fight, she couldn’t win. An online campaign helped raise more than $8,300 for funeral expenses and to help provide care for Maddison, who will grow up learning about the woman brave enough and strong enough to to beat back cancer twice.

Organizers of this year’s Relay for Life, the second at the college campus in Hamlet, hope to raise $100,000, similar to last year’s mark.

“We’re off to a good start,” said Cameron Whitley, the full-time community manager for the Richmond County chapter of the American Cancer Society. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there were 19 teams registered encompassing 71 participants. So far, $421 has been raised. Top teams include West Rockingham Elementary School, Big K Propane and Second Baptist Church Day School.

This year’s event is set for May 8 and will again run from 6 p.m. to midnight. The event will once again be co-chiared by Kim Puckett and Pam Davis. Along with Puckett and Davis, members of the volunteer steering committee include Sherri Alfeo, Charles Wheeler, Ann Wheeler, Cherri Adamson, Ron Mayo, Karen Greene, Linda Lovin, Chad Gross, Alicia Riley, Jamie Brooks, Shannon Pankey and Rene Anderson.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Allyssa Jordyn Beck, left, has had the complete support of her parents, Crystal and Lenny Beck, during the 22-year-old’s three-round battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Allyssa Jordyn Beck, left, has had the complete support of her parents, Crystal and Lenny Beck, during the 22-year-old’s three-round battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma.

After several years on the track at Richmond Senior High School, the event was relocated to the Cole Auditorium parking lot in 2014. The venue change brought with it unexpected challenges that won’t be a surprise this time around, Whitley said.

“I think that Cole Auditorium was a wonderful venue,” Whitley said. The school was wonderful to work with, very accessible, centrally located.”

This year’s planning, though, is taking into consideration lessons learned from last May.

“It’s always good when you have a year in a location,” Whitley said. “We’re prepared for things this year that we didn’t necessarily know this time last year.”

Like, for example, lights. The stadium lights at Richmond Senior gave attendees an easy light source. Not so at RCC, so lights will be rented.

“We didn’t really know that until we turned on the lights we had,” Whitley said. “Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do to prepare for that.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

In addition, parking volunteers will be on duty in the parking lot to help motorists find the best spots.

Logistically, most everything else went off without a hitch and the goal this year is to build off last year’s success. Whitley said organizers plans for more and entertainment, including local dance groups, as well as working on having a wider variety of activities for children. Whitley also said the public school system is getting involved.

Whitley said joining Relay for Life on event night is a personal one.

“My grandmother got through cancer,” she said. “She received a wig through American Cancer Society. I think people have different reasons for getting involved.”

Relay participants often receive pledges on how much per laps they’ll receive — or a fixed donation — and tally the miles at the end of the night. The event begins with a memory lap and ends at midnight with a “fight back” ceremony that hopes to energize the crowd for 11 months and 364 days.

The event promotes a party-like atmosphere, selling foods and family-friendly drinks of all kinds throughout. Proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society.

Get involved

The next team meeting members of the public can attend to learn more information is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 in the cafeteria at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital on Long Drive.

One can also register as a team member or individual online here.

 

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Hamlet, Health, Hoffman, Latest Headlines, News, Rockingham

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