Dallas County residents prepares for Relay-for-Life event in May

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The American Cancer Society is hoping to raise $65,000 through its annual Relay for Life Dallas County Event scheduled for May 7-8. The goal is to form 50 teams countywide.

A special emphasis this year is on youth teams from churches, schools and other organizations, with a special focus on juniors and seniors in city and county, public and private schools. Close to $250 million is raised annually through Relay for Life.

The funds raised are used to support cancer research, education, patient services and advocacy efforts.

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According to Brenda Tuck, new ACS community representative for Dallas and three neighboring counties, the Dallas County Relay for Life Kickoff will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Lion’s Club Park Exhibition Hall on West Dallas Avenue with a brief 30 minute committee meeting following at 6:30 p.m. This is about the 12th year that the fund-raiser has been held in Dallas County, she said.

Karl Jones is Relay for Life chairman.

The Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s main fund-raising event each year, Tuck pointed out, and is the largest such fund-raising event in the world.

Youth and adult members of churches, schools, neighborhoods and other organizations are invited to form teams of eight to 15. Each team member pledges to raise at least $100 or more. The relay itself lasts for 12 hours, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., May 7-8, at the Lion’s Club Park. A reception for cancer survivors is held at 5 p.m. Many participants set up campsites and stay through the night. The annual event always begins with a Survivors Celebration.

The first group to walk around the track are cancer survivors. Then for the remainder of the night, Tuck said, each team will have at least one of its members on the track at all times.

A special feature this year will be the first-ever international team, being put together by Joerg Hund, a German exchange student who is a senior at Central Christian Academy, with area students from Germany, Russia, Ecuador, Brazil, Korea, France and possibly others.

Also, Hund is teaming up with Amber Hicks, a senior at Dallas County High School, to get as many teens involved as possible. While younger participants are welcome, Tuck emphasized that adequate adult supervision is required.

Hund’s grandfather has cancer and Hicks’ mother died of cancer when she was 11.

Sponsors are needed to assist with event-related expenses, so that every dollar collected goes to help fight cancer. Current event sponsors include Rayco Industrial Inc., Selma Funeral Home and Highland Avenue BP. Other sponsors who have agreed to support particular aspects of the event are International Paper Co. Riverdale, Selma Rental, Montgomery Cancer Center Selma and Alabama Power.

A planning committee is in place, Tuck said.

Tuck hopes for a large turnout on Thursday evening, and added that more sponsorship positions are still open, that many more teams are needed, as well as committee members to help coordinate planning between now and May 7.

For information, call Karl Jones at 872-0110 or 874-7513, or Tuck at 876-9783.