Relay for Life hosting special dinner Saturday night for cancer survivors

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 7, 2007 - Cancer survivors and their spouses or significant other are being sought for a special dinner to be hosted Saturday night by Hopkins County Relay For Life.

The event is being hosted to honor all cancer survivors and recognize their struggle to overcome it, and any cancer survivor not already contacted about the event is invited. RFL mailed invitations to those survivors participating in last year's relay. Any county cancer survivors who have yet to phone in their confirmation to attend are also encouraged to do so as soon as possible so that Relay committee members can better know how many to plan for.

Those planning to attend Saturday are asked to contact Tony Aguilar at 903-582-2208, Mynder Nash at 903-885-6633 or Mynder Kelly at 903-439-6399, to notify them of their intended participation.

Saturday's Survivors Banquet features a free dinner as well as a number of guest speakers, and survivors are encouraged to bring a spouse, family member, beau or significant other with them. It begins at 7 p.m. and continues until 10 p.m. at Lake Pointe Church on Gilmer Street.

Also, those survivors who have yet to sign up for this year's rally may do so during the banquet. This year, the Relay Committee's goal is to have 300 or more cancer survivors participating in the relay.

Relay For Life Committee members this year also are hoping to generate more team and individual participation by moving the annual event back one week, to May 4-5. For the last two years, weather has dampened the activity, first with really cold winter weather, then last year with a storm which required organizers to shut the event down early. Another challenge still has been scheduling conflicts, such as area proms and other similar events. This year, committee members hope that moving it back will result in warmer, spring weather minus showers.

Despite the weather and scheduling conflicts, the 2006 relay event raised $129,000 and had 37 teams participating. This year, the RFL goal is $150,000, 300 survivors and 52 teams participating. Already, they're ahead of last year as far as teams go, with 42 signed up so far. However, they're still 10 short, and event chair Aguilar said they'd like to have more youth and organizational teams such as school clubs, after school activities such as 4-H Club, ball and sports teams, church and civic groups involved. 

The more teams, the less pressure on each team to "push and hustle" to meet the annual fund raising goal for the American Cancer Society.

Also this year, RFL is "working on new entertainment to keep it upbeat and moving forward." Any local entertainers who want to donate their time and talent are also encouraged to contact the RFL have their act worked into the relay schedule, Aguilar said.

To sign up entertainers, teams or survivors for participation in this year's event, or to make donations or for more information about Relay For Life 2007, contact Tony Aguilar at 903-582-2208, Mynder Nash at 903-885-6633 or Mynder Kelly at 903-439-6399. Cancer survivors planning to participate in Saturday's event are also asked to call Aguilar, Nash or Kelly to let them know.

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