Relay for Life kicks off in county

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003

The Butler County chapter of the American Cancer Society (ACS) kicked off its 7th Annual Relay For Life (RFL) on February 11. The Relay is slated for Friday and Saturday, May 9th and 10th from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

The goal for this year’s event is $120,000.

On the evening of the kickoff, the YMCA was decked out with bouquets of colorful balloons and a concession booth offering hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy to those in attendance—sure signs of the theme for this year’s program.

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&uot;We will be offering a &uot;Carenival&uot; this year—a carnival theme with emphasis on ‘care’ as we raise funds to continue the fight against cancer.

We think this will be a fun theme for all our teams.

I know you’ll be able to come up with great ideas for decorating your tents and campsites and planning activities for the relay,&uot; noted Butler County ACS chair Joan Reynolds.

&uot;We’ve been blessed here in Butler County with our tremendous participation in Relay For Life.

As I have said before, we are not a wealthy county; it’s a little bit from a lot of people and that’s what makes the event so successful here.&uot;

The local chapter of ACS hopes to see that high level of participation spread.

Terry Wilhite, representing RFL’s anchor sponsor Pioneer Electric noted, &uot;The challenge is now to take RFL beyond the city limits of Greenville out into the communities…we want to move the message out across the county. We have volunteer fire departments, community churches, social organizations…these are, as yet, untapped resources.&uot;

Wilhite also addressed the uncertain economic and political climate faced by the US.

&uot;We are going through some difficult times right now in our nation and our local community…in the words of the Reverend John Ed Mathison, however, ‘let us not forget that God is in control’.

This will be a tough season to raise money, but we can do it.&uot;

Lucy McGowin, in charge of the teams for RFL, encouraged the three dozen or so citizens assembled to gather enthusiastic team members, meeting regularly with team members to &uot;pump them up.&uot;

&uot;Make an effort to be at all the team captain meetings and Bank Night, too,&uot; McGowin recommended.

The next team captain’s meeting is scheduled for March 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the YMCA.

The annual Survivors’ Luncheon at First Baptist Church is slated for May 2, one week prior to the RFL event.

&uot;We are planning for 120 this year…we need to know about survivors out there so we don’t leave anyone out when we send our invitations. Contact me or Caroline Ryan if you know of anyone we need to contact,&uot; urged Vivian Killingsworth.

In 2002, Relay For Life in Butler County raised more than $120,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The local RFL received several accolades from the ACS, including Community of Excellence Award; Regional Award for Top Five Per Capita for RFL; Division Award for Top 25 Per Capita and the National Award for Top Ten Per Capita for RFL.

The Pioneer Electric Cooperative team received a team excellence award for their fund-raising efforts this past year with over $16,000 raised.

Vivian Killingsworth was chosen as community cancer control volunteer of the year.

Joan Reynolds was selected as a community and regional voluntarism leadership award winner.

&uot;We look forward to a wonderful event this year and we thank all those who made last year such a tremendous success,&uot; noted Reynolds.

For general information about this year’s Relay For Life, contact Joan Reynolds at 382-2696. For team captain information, contact Lucy McGowin at 382-6137; for information on survivor luncheon or the local cancer support group, contact Vivian Killingworth at 382-2483.