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American Cancer Society kicks off Colors for Cancer

From left, Frances Arnold and Ethelyn Watson listen as longtime Relay volunteer and cancer survivor June Earnest shares her delight at seeing so many fresh young faces at the Relay kickoff

From left, Frances Arnold and Ethelyn Watson listen as longtime Relay volunteer and cancer survivor June Earnest shares her delight at seeing so many fresh young faces at the Relay kickoff

With bountiful balloons in a rainbow of hues, a lavish light supper and fun door prizes, it certainly looked and felt as if there was something to celebrate in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church in Greenville on Thursday night.

It was the official kick off the 2017 edition of the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay For Life in Butler County, and many of the Relay Committee members and Team Captains joined Event Chair Gerri McGinnis for the event. 

Relay For Life’s main event will be held Friday, May 12, from 6 p.m. until midnight at the Butler County Fairgrounds. This year’s theme (as voted on at the kickoff): “Colors of Cancer.” The fund-raising goal is $60,000.

“I feel as if we are already off to a great start,” said a smiling McGinnis as she welcomed those in attendance. “What can I say? I asked people and they kept saying, ‘Yes’ to helping me with Relay. Thank you all so much!”

ACS Representative for Butler County, Felicia Tyus, herself a three-year breast cancer survivor, said she wanted to personally as well as professionally express her gratitude for those volunteering with and/or supporting Relay. “There are lots of organizations that people can give their time and talents and monies to, so I am overjoyed when people decided to give to the ACS,” Tyus said.

Sponsorship Chair Liz Mullins said she and her helpers had already been out sharing sponsorship packets “and we’ll be going out again tomorrow.”

“We’ve already put out more than 130 packets and we still have packets to share in Georgiana, McKenzie and Greenville,” said Mullins.

Accounting Chair Payne Meadows of Meadows and Meadows in downtown Greenville, encouraged teams to routinely turn in their money at his office following each big fundraiser on the road to Relay in May. “Let’s keep the momentum going. Turning in monies early allows us to keep a running tally of where we are that we can share,” Meadows said.

Survivorship Chair Linda Hummel asked to be put in touch with any  survivors to be sure they received a special invitation to the annual Survivors Luncheon slated for May 5.

Joann Mathews, who is chairing Luminarias, had order forms for both the Luminarias ($5) and Torches of Hope ($100) on hand. She encouraged everyone interested in honoring or remembering someone battling cancer to go ahead and send in the forms.

McGinnis introduced Beth Hyatt in the new position of Online Chair. Hyatt has created a new 2017 Relay page on Facebook.

“We really want to do a better job of sharing information about what activities and events and we think using this page will help keep everybody informed,” said McGinnis.

Abbie Ballew, Team Recruitment Chair, said Relay “means so much to me for different reasons.”

Ballew, who lost her father Jimmy Gardner to cancer, said she also truly appreciates what Relay in terms of bringing people from across the county together for a common purpose.

“We all just have to remember we are here for a good reason. We are raising much-needed funds and bringing people together for such a good, good cause!” said an energized Ballew.

Teams already on board for the 2017 Relay include Abbie Gardner Ballew State Farm Insurance; Gardner Eye Care; First Baptist Church of Georgiana;  Harley’s Angels; LV Stabler Memorial Hospital; Pioneer Electric;  Sandcutt Community; Zeta Dolls; First United Methodist Church; AlaCare Home Health;  Comfort Care Hospice; Southern Care Hospice; W.O. Parmer Elementary School; First Baptist Church of Greenville; Crowne Health Care; Trustmark Bank; First Citizens Bank, Southside Baptist Church and Alabama Power. Other teams planning to join the event include McKenzie School, Greenville Haunted Firehouse and LBW Community College.

The next Team Captains Meeting is slated for Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Beeland Park. Subsequent meetings will be March 16 and April 13, with Bank Night (time TBA) on May 11.

Anyone interested in forming a RFL team should contact Abbie Ballew at (334) 300-5506 or at abbie@agentabbie.com; for sponsorships, contact Liz Mullins at (334) 372-5118 or at remullins2012@gmail.com; for Luminarias or Torches of Hope, contact Joann Mathews at (334) 406-4054 or at jmathews@curohs.com; for survivorship information, contact Linda Hummel at (334)233-9202 or at Linda_Hummel@quoromhealth.com and to add Relay events to the FB page, contact Beth Hyatt at (334) 313-1842 or at ehyatt73791@gmail.com  For general Relay information, contact Gerri McGinnis at (334) 328-1176 or via email at gerrimcginnis@yahoo.com