Relay for Life to become annual event
Cattle Baron's Ball to be discontinued

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

April 30, 2004 -- After the phenomenal successes of recent years, local American Cancer Society officials have opted to make Hopkins County Relay for Life an annual event and the Cattle Baron's Ball, which had alternated years with the relay since the walk for cancer began locally in 1998, will be discontinued.

That's why its so important that the relay, which will be held annually on the first Friday in May, be a success. Event organizers have been working for months trying to make sure the walk goes off without a hitch. That's why they will be holding two meetings Saturday to firm up plans for the 2004 Hopkins County Relay for Life which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 7, with the traditional cancer survivors' lap and opening ceremonies. Teams will have members walking the track to help raise funds for research to help find a cure for cancer through the night and Saturday morning, May 8, when the event culminates with closing ceremonies at 9 a.m.

Team captains are asked to attend a special rally which begins at 8:30 a.m. this Saturday, May 1, at Sulphur Springs Middle School track to turn in money and get last minute plans and instructions pertaining to the event.

Cancer survivors signed up to take part in opening ceremonies and the survivors' lap will also meet from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 1, in the community room at Guaranty Bond Bank to pick up t-shirts. Anyone who wants to participate in the cancer survivors' lap and have not signed up may do so between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, May 1, at Guaranty Bond Bank.

Luminaries in honor or memory of loved ones or friends who have battled cancer may be purchased for a minimum donation of $5 at various locations in town and at the event. The luminaries will be placed around the track to light the path as team members walk the path throughout the night Friday, May 7.

Entertainment will be provided beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, May 7 through 11:50 p.m., with midnight madness games at 12 a.m. Saturday, May 8, karaoke at 1 a.m. and entertainment to 4:50 a.m., pajama aerobics at 5:30 a.m., sunrise devotion at 6 a.m., more entertainment at 7 a.m. and closing ceremonies from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8. Look in the Thursday, May 6, News-Telegram for more information about scheduled entertainers and a slate of activities.

Food bracelets will also be available for $15 for anyone 13 years and older, or $10 for children ages seven to 13 years, and free for kids six and under. The bracelet will entitle the person wearing it to meals, snacks and other foods available from the food booths throughout the entirety of the relay.

A trolley service will also be available from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, May 7, to carry people from League Street Church of Christ on South League Street and from Our Savior Lutheran Church on Texas to SSMS walking track where the relay is being held.

Those planning to attend the relay are asked to refrain from using Bell Street the day of SSMS's eighth grade banquet so as not to disrupt those activities.

Event organizers for the 2002 Relay for Life said the event raised a record $132,000 for the ACS, up from the $110 raised just two years before. In its first year, Relay for Life raised $98,000, shattering the Texas record for the most money raised at a Relay For Life event ever, and ranking fifth in the nation.

More than 3,000 communities across the country and in seven foreign countries have conducted Relay for Life events since the first relay was held 19 years ago when 220 supporters on 19 teams joined colorectal surgeon and avid runner Dr. Gordy Klatt in an overnight walk. In May 1985, Klatt walked 14-hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash., clocking 83 miles and raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society.

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