Community supports cancer fundraiser

Relay for Life is May 18 at the hospital

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Volunteers have been raising money for several months now, all leading up to May 18’s Relay for Life event at Wilson Medical Center.

On that day, the community will gather to honor those who have cancer or those who are celebrating a victory over the disease. 

The American Cancer Society fundraiser kicks off at 6 p.m. with opening ceremonies followed by a survivor and caregiver walk.

This year’s event is once again a shortened six hours, running from 6 p.m. to midnight, according to organizer Bonnie Overby.

At least, 19 teams have signed up and more can join in the quest to raise money for the American Cancer Society event. 

One of those teams is from Wilson Medical Center. The hospital’s booth theme this year is skin cancer prevention, according to Melanie Raynor, marketing coordinator.

Raynor said Dr. Emil Cekada will do skin cancer screenings from 5 to 7 p.m. There will also be skin cancer prevention education and giveaways.

In addition, the hospital will be selling hot dogs, chips and a drink for $5.

“Passion is the key driver behind all we do for Relay for Life,” said Peter Rossie, Wilson Medical Center’s Relay for Life campaign chair. “Almost everyone has been affected by cancer in some way — whether they’ve been a caregiver, a survivor or lost a loved one because of it. When you combine passion, determination and energy amongst a group of people, the result can be incredible.”

The theme of this year’s Relay is the “Wizard of Oz.” The slogan is “Follow the Yellow Brick Road for a Cure.”

Volunteers have been building a yellow brick road for the event.

Overby said individuals will be able to purchase a yellow brick for $25 in honor or memory of someone with cancer. The brick can be taken home at the end of the event. Luminaries and torches can also be sponsored.

In addition to the survivor and caregiver walks, there will be a mascot lap with children at 7:15 featuring such mascots as Muddy the Mudcats and Slugger from the Tobs baseball team.

At 8:15 p.m., teams are encouraged to participate in the “Why I Relay” lap. Overbee said teams will make posters that tell why they participate. Reasons can include a person’s name or the day a survivor was declared cancer free.

“We want to know why everyone in Wilson Relays,” Overby said.

The public is encouraged to attend Relay, take a few laps around the walking track, visit the team booths and eat dinner. Overbee expects teams to be making strawberry shortcake, corn on the cob, barbecue sandwiches and lots of sweets.

“Come on out and eat,” she said.

For more information about the event or to purchase a luminary, contact Bonnie Overbee at 252-373-3231.