Cel­e­brat­ing the Sur­vivors

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - CONTENTS - Story by Mark Gre­gory

“I think a lot of our Re­lay is honor­ing ones we’ve lost and cel­e­brat­ing the sur­vivors,” said Serethia Craw­ford, team de­vel­op­ment chair.

The overnight event will be­gin at 6 p.m. May 30 on the Oak­lawn Park in­field. The theme, with apolo­gies to Jimmy Buf­fet, is “Marga-RE­LAY-ville: Where we’ll WIPE OUT all kinds of cancer!”

The funds raised through Re­lay for Life are used to pro­vide pro­grams to cancer pa­tients and help fund livesav­ing re­search.

“I think ab­so­lutely ev­ery per­son has some sort of cancer in their life, whether it be a fam­ily mem­ber or a co-worker. So it af­fects ev­ery­one, in one way or an­other,” Craw­ford said.

Re­lay for Life is a cel­e­bra­tion be­cause it is like the “party at the end. We’ve been rais­ing money for 11 months,” she said.

Donna Kaye Smith of the Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety says Re­lay is “more like a move­ment that the Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety has been able to grow. Be­tween the med­i­cal com­mu­nity, the gen­eral com­mu­nity. Ev­ery­body pitches in on it be­cause they know it has a di­rect im­pact on how we treat cancer.”

Plan­ning and fundrais­ing for next year’s Re­lay be­gins the day af­ter the event ends each year. Since 1999, more than $3 mil­lion has been raised by Gar­land County alone.

Gar­land County has tra­di­tion­ally been the largest Re­lay in the state of Arkansas.

“We have more teams, more par­tic­i­pants and larger do­na­tions than any other county” in Arkansas, Smith says.

“Our com­mu­nity is the most gen­er­ous and ded­i­cated group of cancer fight­ing people around,” she said.

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