Smiles, laughter and unbreakable bonds may not be the first things people think of when they think of cancer. However, for the Hartselle Relay for Life teams, who kicked off their 2013 campaign last week, there is a lot more to cancer than tears and fears, especially in the fight for a cure.
The Relay for Life of Hartselle kickoff celebration, themed “Ropin’ A Cure,” was Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Hartselle Church of Christ. Committee leaders led experts and newcomers through the process of setting up their Relay for Life teams, fundraising for the American Cancer Society, sponsoring events and also shared their testimonies.
Breast cancer survivor Sandra Smith shared her story at the kickoff event. She said she had always wondered what her reaction would be if she ever heard the words “You have cancer.”
“My reaction was quite surprising – apprehensive peace,” she said.
Smith underwent chemotherapy and a lumpectomy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She has learned much from the experience, she said.
“God never wastes suffering,” she said. “Instead of asking ‘Why?’, ask ‘How can I use this for God’s glory?’ ”
Relay for Life is dear to her not only because she is a cancer survivor, but because it shows others they’re not alone in their fight. Relay for Life is also about individual members being responsible for their portion of the race, so no one has to do it alone, she said.
Something everyone can do
“If you’ve ever been a caregiver, you ask ‘What can I do?’ Relay is something everyone can do,” Elaine Balch told the crowd at the kickoff event.
Balch shared that her family has a genetic marker for cancer and named numerous relatives that have battled the disease. She relays for them and the hope for a cure, she said.
Balch chaired the first Hartselle-based event in 2001, and has been involved with Relay for Life in Morgan County since 1994.
Relay for Life began in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash., when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked to raise funds to help the American Cancer Society. Klatt was able to raise $27,000 in the first walk, and now that the Relay for Life event has gone global there has been more than $4 billion raised by Relay for Life events to go toward cancer research.
Hartselle event chair Shawna Fincher announced that the 2012 Hartselle teams raised $97,243. They want to beat that total in 2013, she said.
Money raised goes to the American Cancer Society for research, cancer support programs and even college scholarship for cancer survivors.
Some teams have already arranged fundraisers.
The H-Town Boys team is coordinating with Elizabeth G’s restaurant to give away a Thirty-One XXXL Rolling Cooler. Chances to win can be purchased at Elizabeth G’s or by calling Lisa Burns at 256-303-3534. Chances to win are $1 for one chance, and $5 for 6 chances. The giveaway will be Nov. 2.
Also, Elizabeth G’s is having a Pink Cupcake Celebration throughout the month of October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For every cupcake sold, a portion of the proceeds will go to Hartselle Relay for Life. Call 256-502-8119 to pre-order large quantities.
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