As members of the community gather Friday night, it will be a time for celebration and a time for remembrance as the annual Relay for Life is held, raising money for the American Cancer Society.
The walk will kick off at the Elkin Municipal Park bandstand at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony, followed by the survivor lap at 6:15 p.m. and the caregiver lap immediately after the survivor lap. Everyone will join in the walk and festivities following the caregiver lap.
With less than a week until the event, Sherry Chappell, chairwoman of the Elkin Relay for Life Committee, said the walk may fall short of its team goal by less than five teams, but she is optimistic the relay will meet its financial goal, if not by Friday night, then by the end of the campaign season on Aug. 31.
“We are over halfway to our goal of about $25,000,” Chappell said Tuesday morning. “So we are doing good on money raised.”
Survivors can register ahead of Friday for the survivor lap and free T-shirt, or they can register the night of the event. For the special lap, each survivor will come forward, give their name and the number of years they are a survivor, Chappell explained.
This will be the second year the Elkin relay will host a caregiver lap, something Chappell said is important as a way of honoring those who spend their time caring for those who have or had cancer.
The evening will be filled with food, such as ice cream, hot dogs and walking tacos, available for a donation, activities such as bounce houses, face painting and carnival-theme games, and entertainment, with Hamptonville’s Carolina Cloggers performing at 7 p.m. and Dylan Longworth performing at 8 p.m.
“It is a community event,” said Chappell, noting that those who wish to participate do not have to be a member of a team. “Anybody can come walk.”
She said relay is important to cancer patients in the local area. “All the money we raise goes to the American Cancer Society, but it stays in this area to support cancer survivors in this area,” Chappell explained.
ACS provides an 800 hotline number where people can call to learn about all of the local resources available to cancer patients, such as the wig shop at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital. It also assists with transportation to and from treatments and to fund any research projects which might take place in the local community, she said.
Chappell said she began relaying seven years ago, “in hopes that no child has to go through as a child what my brother and I had to go through.” She explained her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer when Chappell was 9, and when she 22, her 40-year-old mother died from the disease.
To events during the relay stood out to Chappell as special moments for those who attend. “The survivor lap … and the luminaria service,” she said.
The luminaria service Friday will begin at 9 p.m. The activities at the park will temporarily shut down for this “quiet, peaceful time to honor and remember those who lost their battle to cancer,” Chappell said.
With about 150 to 200 luminaria now sold, she said it takes 450 to wrap the track at the park, so they are hoping to sell many more by the 8:30 p.m. deadline Friday. The $10 luminaria can be purchased by calling Chappell at 336-306-3883 or Friday at the relay event.
For more information on Elkin Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/elkinnc or call Chappell at 336-306-3883.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.