Relay for Life kicks off
The new year is usually a time for people to set goals for the things they want to accomplish and the Franklin County Relay For Life Committee has one specific goal in mind – to find a cure.
At the annual kick-off dinner held Thursday night at First Baptist Church in Russellville, Belinda Johnson, who serves as the Relay event chairperson for Franklin County, congratulated committee members and team leaders for their outstanding efforts at last year’s Relay For Life where teams raised $116,000 for the American Cancer Society.
“Last year was a trying time for our county,” she said, “but even though the county went through so much on April 27, we were still able to raise a significant amount of money and that’s a great accomplishment.”
Johnson said the Franklin County Relay For Life Committee has even been getting support from people as far away as California where a Relay group expressed their support to Franklin County after all they went through with the April tornadoes.
“The California Great Valley Region Relay For Life team sent a banner signed by their members expressing their condolences and their hope for healing here in our county,” she said. “That was such a touching gesture that people on the other side of the country are thinking about us and supporting us in our journey.”
Johnson said this year’s goal would be to raise $122,000.
“A lady in the community gave a very inspiring talk at her church this summer and I had watched the DVD of the talk and thought she would be an excellent speaker for our Survivor’s Dinner this year, but Wednesday we lost her to this battle,” Johnson said, with emotion in her voice.
“This is what motivates me to come back every year to help you fight in this battle against cancer. I’m looking forward to what we’ll accomplish this year.”
Tim Alford, who has dealt with cancer diagnoses among family members over the past three years, spoke to those in attendance about the importance of Relay For Life and the importance of keeping up the fight.
“One of the first events my family attended when we moved to Russellville 10 years ago was the Relay For Life event and we couldn’t believe what a big deal it was,” he said. “I doubt that there are few places that are more passionate about Relay For Life than Franklin County.
“There’s no doubt that we’ve all been touched by cancer… but one thing we have in common is that whether you’re a survivor, a caregiver, a family member or a friend, we’ve all traveled down a road filled with uncertainty and we all have to learn how to adapt because cancer doesn’t show any favoritism.”
Megan Lovelace, who works at the American Cancer Society’s Florence office, said there is still room for many more teams to participate in this year’s Franklin County Relay For Life event that will feature a sports theme as participants are “Teaming Up to Find the Cure.”
“We have many teams that participate as a business, but you don’t have to be a business to participate,” Johnson added. “Any kind of group – a church group, a group of friends, a neighborhood – anyone can form a team and help support the Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.”
This year’s Relay For Life event will be on May 4 at 7 p.m. at the Russellville High School Stadium.
For more information about forming a team or helping out, contact Johnson at 256-810-6408 or Lovelace at 256-767-0825.