Speaking recently at a local church about Effingham County’s upcoming Relay for Life, Denese Parker asked everyone in the audience to stand if they know a friend who has cancer.
Parker then asked people to stand if they have a neighbor, co-worker or family member with cancer. Finally, she asked the cancer survivors to stand.
“I said, ‘Now look around you — there’s nobody sitting down,’” recalled Parker, a member of the Effingham Relay for Life committee. “That means we’re all touched by cancer in one way or another.”
Relay for Life raises money and awareness for the fight against cancer. This year’s will be April 24 from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Effingham County High School track.
“It’s something that it doesn’t focus on one kind of cancer,” Parker said of Relay. “It focuses on every kind of cancer.”
Teams still have time to sign up for this year’s Relay. Anyone interested can go to the Web site www.relayforlife.org/effinghamga and join an existing team or start one of their own.
The committee also is looking for cancer survivors to participate. Each year, Relay for Life begins with survivors walking the first lap around the track.
“I do have a survivors team this year,” Parker said. “If somebody is a survivor but they don’t have a connection with another team, they can join my team.”
Following the survivors lap, caregivers of cancer patients walk the second lap and the participating teams walk the third lap together. Teams are then encouraged to have at least one person walking the track the rest of the night, symbolic of the unending fight against cancer.
A variety of entertainers will perform throughout the night. The planned activities also include a “purple glove dance,” a common Relay for Life activity in which the participants don purple gloves and dance as a group in tribute to cancer survivors.
“It’s just something to kind of get people going,” Parker said. “It was something we saw that we thought was cute and might be entertaining.”
Along with raising money for the American Cancer Society, this year’s Relay also will provide food to local families in need. Participants are being asked to bring cans of food to be donated to Effingham food pantries, an effort Parker said some churches are supporting with “can cancer” drives.
The food donations will be incorporated into the luminaria ceremony, a tribute to people’s loved ones who have died from cancer or are fighting the disease. White bags are placed around the track — each personalized with a name, photo or message in someone’s memory or honor — and are lit with candles.
“That’s the prettiest thing in the world to me,” Parker said. “We have so many bags, they are almost touching each other around the center of the track. I would say easily a thousand, if not more, bags.”
The bags are typically filled with sand to keep them in place. However, this year’s weights for the bags will be the donated cans of food, which will be distributed to local service agencies following the Relay.
Each team will have a tent set up around the track, where they will accept donations for the American Cancer Society. Also, food and craft items will be sold all night.
“So bring cash,” Parker said, adding with a laugh, “Or checks.”
For more information about Effingham’s Relay for Life, call Parker at (912) 656-0884.
Relay car show
The Effingham County Relay for Life committee will host its second annual car, truck and motorcycle show April 11 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Freedom Park in Rincon.
Admission is free, and the family event will include food, crafts, kids’ activities and games. All proceeds will support the American Cancer Society.
The judging categories for cars and trucks will be classic and hot rods pre-1970s, 1970 and up, and import. Motorcycle categories will be sport bikes, cruiser, touring and custom.
Show vehicles can begin arriving at 9 a.m. The vehicle registration fee is $15 in advance or $20 at the gate.
For questions or to pre-register, call Kelly Davis at (912) 704-9603.
Effingham Relay for Life
• When: April 24, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.
• Where: Effingham County High School
• About: Visit www.relayforlife.org/effinghamga for more about the fundraiser to help fight and treat cancer