The Cooper County Relay for Life will host its annual relay to combat cancer. The relay will be held Friday, at 5:45 p.m. at the Cooper County Youth Fairgrounds. The relay offers individuals a chance to gather with other individuals affected by cancer either directly or in-direclty.
Charlie Melkersman of the Cooper County Relay for Life said $39,740 has been raised so far, which is approaching the goal of $90,000 set for this year's relay.
"Last year we raised a little over $80,000 for the National Cancer Society, which is celebrating their 100 birthday this year," Melkersman said.
Melkersman said they have chosen '100 years of hope' as the official theme of this year's relay to celebrate with the cancer society and their achievements.
According to a release the Relay For Life is an event that mobilizes communities throughout the country to celebrate survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer), remember loved ones and raise money for the fight against cancer. The evening will also feature stories from cancer survivors.
Melkersman said there are some new teams this year, which may bring more energy to the relay.
The event opens promptly with a cancer survivors lap. The lap is meant to celebrate those who have survived cancer or who are currently battling cancer. During this time games, music and live entertainment will entertain people all through the night. Survivors or caregivers of survivors wear shirts and release balloons signaling that they have not given up hope on the fight against cancer.
Teams hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites during the Relay as well, including a queen pageant where men dress up like woman and perform a talent for the audience. Several businesses are represented in the pageant as money is then given to a candidate who they feel should win. The winner is chosen by the amount of funds they raised throughout the night.
The Luminaria Ceremony takes place after sundown, honoring the community's cancer survivors and remembering those lost to the disease. Individuals get a chance during this time to thank those who have helped them through the disease as well. Participants will circle a track that is surrounded with glowing luminaria that bear the name of someone who has battled cancer or a special caregiver. Luminaria may be purchased for $5 by calling Becky Ehlers at 660-888-0191 or by visiting www.relayforlife.org/coopercomo.
According to a release, a new addition to the Cooper County Relay includes the "Fight Back Ceremony in which a the Relay Committee will inspire Relay participants with his or her own commitment and will challenge them to take a personal pledge of action in fighting back.
"We look forward to a good relay this year," Melkersman said.