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Home News-Telegram News 2013 Relay for Life: Uptown success

2013 Relay for Life: Uptown success

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Relay For Life of Hopkins County 2013 was considered a success, with many turning out to show support of cancer survivors and caregivers and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the first RFL on the downtown square. The team sites along the outer perimeter of the square, each selling different goodies and funds services — such as face-painting — to benefit RFL, added to the fair-like fun.


As teams and RFL Committee members were packing up Saturday morning so that the square would be fresh by the time people begin arriving downtown later in the day for The Market, Committee members were already making mental notes of improvement to make the 2014 RFL even better.

Some team members noted how much more intimate and enjoyable the family-friendly party atmosphere was during the 12-hour walk to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Those who lasted the night and stuck it out through the final lap at 7 a.m. Saturday were a tired but happy bunch, glad to have been a part of an event which not only raises funds for ACS services and research for a cure, but that also celebrates those fighting cancer and remembers those who have lost their battle.

Although committee members were still tallying participant counts at the close of RFL Saturday morning, there were numerous cancer survivors and caregivers who signed up at the ACS booth at RFL to participate Friday. Going into RFL, they had 588 signed up to participate:  including 27 teams, 220 cancer survivors and 103 caregivers.

As always, the ceremonial first lap made by cancer survivors (and shared with their caregivers this year) was an emotional one as was the luminary ceremony, which included the lighting of torches and luminaries and a slideshow featuring local people who lost their battle with cancer shown on a huge screen by the stage as the bagpipes were played. The square was a sea of purple as hundreds of cancer survivors donned their purple shirts and took part in fundraising and awareness. The candles and torches, along with the green hope and cure signs, during the luminary ceremony shown, a beacon of hope and light for a cure for a disease which claims too many each year.

One thing different this year, aside from the venue, were honor laps. Teams were encouraged to dedicate laps to loved ones and friends  who are or have battled cancer. Several did. Balloons were released along with a “happy birthday” message during one early lap.

Since this year’s theme was “Tweet Away Cancer,” they also encouraged participants and community members to tweet messages of encouragement or tell who they relay for. The tweets sent to #RFLHopkinsCoTx were then shown on a large screen on the main stage. Committee members also used it to help pump team members up as they began to lag while making laps around the perimeter of the courthouse square in the wee hours Saturday. Using counters, they also noted how much walking had been done throughout the night – 65K at 6 a.m. 

One took time to tweet RFL “has been one of the rewarding experiences ever," another offered a shout out to “team Unidos 4 a Cure for selling out tacos!” (which were quite tasty). Isabel Reyna tweeted "I relay in memory of my best friend, Daisy! I miss her beautiful smile &laugh I relay for others not to go thru this feeling." Jordyn Kerney used the #RFLHopkinsCoTX to tweet “Happy birthday to my aunt Donna who is also a survivor!” and to note that “I’ve been a part of Relay since I was in the eighth grade. Started for Ashley McCracken and have continued for several others.” McCracken, this year’s RFL co-chair shared earlier this month that RFL is very personal for her. She was diagnosed five years ago and beat cancer; she participates in RFL in hope of sending needed funds for research that one day will find a cure for cancer.

Overall, the committee reported more than $67,000 of the $85,000 goal had been turned in as of Saturday morning, but noted while RFL 2013 was over, the fundraising campaign is not. A few sizable donations are outstanding and some generally trickle in throughout the year. The books won’t close on this year’s drive until Aug. 31. Anyone who didn’t get to be at RFL Friday or who wants to contribute can still do so online at www.relayforlife.org/hopkinscotx or by contacting any RFL committee member.

This year’s committee included Judy Worley, Ashley McCracken, Johnna West, Susan Neal, Lee Gifford, Taylor Gifford, Joyce Davis, Joel “Dubb” Williams, Darrell Dodd, Lucas Hill, Tammie White and Julie Hill.

At the closing ceremony shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday, RFL Committee members recognized outstanding teams for their contributions to RFL.

The Saputo team received the glass brick for being the adult team that raised the most money for RFL, $7,875. First United Methodist Youth Team won two awards, one for Best Team Baton-Youth and one for Top Team Fundraising-Youth; they turned in $3,208.

Team Castleberry took the adult award and Cumby High School Team #1 took the youth award for Most Luminaries.

Team awards for Most Spirit among adult teams went to the Askew Family Team and among youth to Saltillo FCCLA Team.

The Super Handy-Atwoods Team won the Best Campsite-Adult award and Cumby High School won the Best Campsite-Youth award.

The committee noted that RFL would not be possible without the many people in the community who participate either by showing support, as team fundraising, survivors, committee, sponsorship, service or in  numerous other manners.

At least a dozen businesses, one church and an individual were recognized as top sponsors for their donations of $250-$5,000, which go toward hosting RFL and associated expenses. Grocery Supply Company was honored as a gold level sponsor for the company’s contribution of $5,000. Gold level sponsors who contributed $2,500 included Alliance Bank, Galyean Insurance and Alliance Financial. M&F Western was a sapphire level sponsor, contributing$1,500. Oceanspray was a silver sponsor with $1,000. City National Bank was recognized both as a platinum sponsor for not only their $750 contribution but also for sponsoring the luminary ceremony. First United Methodist Church was also a platinum sponsor and noted for allowing RFL to host all their regular meetings, cancer survivors’ dinner and other activities in their facility. Sponsors recognized for their $250 donations were Bell Concrete, Toliver Ford, Agriland and Cherrie Gordon.

They offered thanks to Daylan Millard, Tommie Peugh, Rowdy France, Cakie Brown, Sons of Lowe, Tamara Martinez and the men who participated in the Queen of Relay Man Pageant for entertainment. Hopkins County Military Coalition opened the ceremonies with the posting of the colors, Joel Tiemeyer gave the invocation and Daylan Millard sang the National Anthem. 

Special awards were presented to Carolyn McKinney for her years on the committee, paying over $3,000 over the years for a storage building for RFL and her innumerable other contributions and service to RFL and ACS over the years; Bobby Neal for preparing the stew for RFL nearly every year except this one, as well as helping out the committee and wherever needed over the years; and to Faith Huffman and Luis Noble for their coverage of RFL and its events.




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