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‘Seasons of Hope’ for Crenshaw County Relay

It seemed as if the whole crowd held its breath Friday night as eight-year-old Alexis Bynog took her turn and had six inches of her hair cut off for Locks of Love. All the while, her mom Michelle, stood at the edge of the stage with tears in her eyes. Having been diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2, Alexis had not cut her hair since then. Wearing her new cute hairstyle, both Alexis and her mom cried as they hugged each other tightly.

“She was worried that we (her parents) would be upset about it,” Michelle Bynog said.

Alexis is the daughter of Travis and Michelle Bynog of Highland Home, and she, along with four other selfless young ladies, waited patiently as their long hair was cut to make wigs for cancer patients in the Locks of Love program.

“This is what Relay for Life is all about,” Crenshaw County Relay for Life Chairman Cathy Wilkes said afterward. “This is the reason we Relay.”

Friday night was one of the biggest nights of the year as the community once again came together in the fight against cancer at E.L. Turner Park.

This year’s theme, “Seasons of Hope,” was grandly displayed by each team, whether they decorated for Mardi Gras, Halloween, Christmas or Easter.

“Teams from across the county came to celebrate the different seasons for one goal, and that was to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” Wilkes said.

The county fell short of its $80,000 goal by almost $15,000, but Wilkes was not deterred by that.

“The teams raised $65,503.56 for the 2009 Relay for Life,” she said, “and we had a lot of fun doing it. We knew we were going to be below the goal due to the economy, plus the fact that SMART was not able to have a team this year. But we were still pleased with the outcome.”

Last year, SMART Alabama LLC raised over $19,000 for the county’s Relay for Life. Wilkes said the county’s Relay for Life was planning to hold a band party during the summer to help make up the difference.

The top fundraising teams were, in first place, the Brantley Front Porch Rockers, then Petrey Wholesale, and Luverne High School in third place.

Luverne High School won the per capita trophy, and Edna Ruth Norsworthy raised the most money individually, over $3,100.

The Spirit of Relay was won by Hometown Medical.

Petrey Wholesale won the “Rookie Award”, and the cooking competition was won by Crenshaw Community Hospital, while Petrey Wholesale took second, and LHS was awarded third.

Hospice Advantage placed first in the banner competition, Annie’s came in second, and Petrey Wholesale placed third.

Petrey Wholesale came out on top in the volleyball tournament, Hometown Medical placed second, and Luverne High School placed third.

“We had a large crowd, and the weather was beautiful,” Wilkes said. “This is one of the most special times of the year as our community comes together for a very worthy cause.”