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There is going to be a party and the entire county is invited.
Relay for Life of Brunswick County is kicking off events for 2012 Relay for Life with a Carnival for a Cure party at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center.
At the helm of this year’s executive committee are Alicia Sides, Gloria Childress, Melissa Yow and Dee Carlisle. This is the group’s first year working together and they hope to spread Relay awareness.
“It’s a huge celebration,” Sides said. “Everyone is invited to come and see what Relay and the American Cancer Society are all about. People can come and join a team or make their own team.”
Carnival for a Cure will feature “fun, food, entertainment and moving speeches from survivors.”
Last year Relay for Life of Brunswick County raised $297,000. The goal for 2012 is $310,000.
“We raised quite a bit of money for a small community,” Yow said. “We are challenging the community to join a team or start a team and get involved.”
Each of this year’s executive committee members have been involved with Relay for several years.
Yow began volunteering with Relay as a teenager in Mississippi.
“I helped my mom’s team. So much cancer runs in my family and the American Cancer Society helps with all types of cancer,” Yow said. “Relay is a way of life for me.”
When Carlisle became involved with Relay she had never heard of it before.
“I was told I needed to go. I attended an event one time and I was addicted,” Carlisle said. “I lost my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and my dad to cancer. My oldest sister had cancer three times, I’ve had it myself, and last year I lost my brother to cancer.”
Sides began volunteering with Relay as a college student at Pfeiffer University. This is her seventh year. The first year she met a volunteer with terminal brain cancer who told her while she knew it was too late to help her what she was doing would help someone in the future.
Childress has had her own battles with cancer. She became involved with Relay after her first diagnosis of breast cancer in 2003. See a related story on this page.
The group plans to introduce new elements to this year’s Relay.
“We really want the community’s input. We want the community to be involved. We want to know what the community thinks and we are open to suggestion,” Sides said.
Anyone wanting to make a suggestion may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another important aspect to Relay is the opportunity to honor those who have battled and are battling cancer. Last year more than 300 survivors attended Relay and this year the goal is to reach even more. There will be a survivor luncheon in the months to come.
During Relay a luminary service honors those who have passed due to cancer and this year there will be a fight back ceremony to honor caregivers.
Carlisle says there is no sleeping during the May Relay event.
“Cancer doesn’t sleep and neither do we,” she said with a grin as she explained last year more than one person was awakened by the sound of clanging pots and pans.
Monthly team captain meetings are on the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Brunswick Electric. Captains’ meetings begin in January and continue until the May event. The 2012 Relay for Life event will be May 4-5, 2012, at West Brunswick High School.
Anyone interested in joining Relay in the fight against cancer is encouraged to attend the Nov. 3 kickoff party.