the football stadium at Starmount High School on May 10 was filled with people walking the track in darkness with the glow of luminarias and tiki torches honoring cancer survivors and victims to light their way.
Yadkin County Relay For Life held its annual walk and fundraising event to help put a stop to cancer.
Relay For Life is an overnight event meant to honor those battling cancer and signifying that cancer never sleeps.
“Relay night was phenomenal,” said Allison Reeves, the American Cancer Society’s community manager for the area. “We’ve had a record turnout for both teams and participants. It’s been an awesome night overall. We went into the night with fundraising over what we thought it could be.”
“We had already raised over $70,000, and our goal was $94,000. We suspect that we will surpass it,” Reeves said. “Our committee and our teams are intent on hitting $100,000 this year, which is great because it is the American Cancer Society’s 100th anniversary.”
The event was kicked off with an opening by the family of Starmount graduate Meme Brown, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer late last year.
“Cancer is the darndest thing I’ve ever seen and ever been a part of,” said David Brown, Meme’s father. “With all of the negatives that it produces, it produces some great goodness also. There is no other place greater to celebrate what we’re celebrating tonight, and that is to cure cancer. Cancer has brought all of us to together to fight, and when you combine those forces together there is nothing that can’t be beat.”
Brown challenged the survivors in attendance not to give up their fight against cancer. He reminded them that they had family, caregivers and friends that were standing behind them and helping them fight to survive.
“We all have somebody covering our back and that is our Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” Brown said. “Survivors you turn to Jesus Christ and you turn to those people who love you and let them see you at your darkest time because that’s when we can share with you and lift you up out of that sadness and heartache.”
With that the survivors took to the track to have the survivor lap around the track followed by a caregiver lap honoring those who’ve cared for the cancer survivors and victims.
As the night went on there were performances by local dance groups. As dusk drew near the luminaria ceremony and lighting of the tiki torches took place.
James Tucker performed a song he wrote in honor of Starmount graduate Austin Macemore, another victim of cancer.
The Starmount High School Show Choir performed a song in memory of Meme Brown.
Once the track was lit with luminaria bags the attendees were led by a bagpipe player honoring those still fighting, survivors and those who lost their battle.
Following the ceremonies the night was filled with Zumba, line dancing, karaoke, a “trashy fashion show,” live bands and games.
The event wrapped up at 7 a.m. on May 11 with closing remarks from Wayne Macemore, Austin Macemore’s father.
Wayne read from a journal that Austin kept for school recounting his experiences during his treatment.
In his writing Austin told the story of the worst summer of his life, following a very extensive radiation treatment.
“The burns I have on my neck, the missing taste buds and the feeding tubes I have are all reminders of a situation that was bigger than it was supposed to be,” Austin wrote. “This situation has taught me something, though: it is the little things in life that are the most important. Like talking to your friends, going out and eating.
“I can now do two of these three things, but people have told me that my situation has inspired them, which I think is crazy because all I’ve done is withstood the pain and the agony,” Austin wrote.
As Wayne Macemore wrapped up his speech the remaining Relayers took to the track to walk the final lap to end Relay 2013.
The event has proven to be a large success over last year’s event with $92,852.88 raised as of May 20. Teams and individuals have until Aug. 31 to turn in all fundraising monies before Relay 2014 starts on Sept. 1, 2013. The organization expects that it will meet its goal of $100,000 by the end of the fundraising year.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.