By SALLY SEXTON
Cancer never sleeps.
To remember that fact, and honor those who have survived the disease, Parker County is hosting the Relay for Life of Parker County May 18 at Kangaroo Stadium.
The event will kick off at noon and go to midnight.
“We wanted to try out a new time this year, because we’re hoping it will work out better for everyone and allow more people to participate,” Gina Osborn, teams’ chair of the event, said.
Relay for Life was created in 1985 as a way to honor cancer victims. Some events may last up to 24 hours, as a reminder that cancer never lets up.
The event consists of teams, which can be formed through families, co-workers at a business or just friends. Cost per person to participate is $10. A representative from each team must be on the track at all times.
Events will be set up throughout the day, including bounce houses, vendors and martial arts exhibits by James Gray and the Karate University, to honor this year’s theme of “Knock Out Cancer.”
“A lot of people don’t really know what Relay for Life is, so they just don’t know how to get involved,” Trisha Perkins, event chair, said. “Another thing we really want to emphasize is that this isn’t just for Weatherford. This is for all of Parker County.”
The main goal, outside of honoring cancer victims, is to raise funds to go to the American Cancer Society.
Individuals must raise or donate $100 to receive a T-shirt.
Last year, the event brought in a little more than $65,000. This year, the committee has set a fund raising goal of $90,000, with $7,500 in sponsorships and a survivor ambition of 150 signees.
“Teams can raise money really any way they want,” Perkins said. “One year, my team had a bake sale, where everyone donated an item and we sold them. Another team had a taco lunch, where they sold two tacos, rice and beans for $5 a plate.
“Even some of the schools get in on it, by raising money for Jean Day, where you pay $1 to wear blue jeans, or selling pencils for 25 cents each.”
The funds will go primarily toward several programs offered by the American Cancer Society — Reach to Recovery, where breast cancer survivor volunteers conduct face-to-face or phone visits and offer support to those dealing with cancer; Road to Recovery, a program that provides transportation to and from treatment for people who don’t have a ride or are unable to drive themselves; Hope Lodge, a getaway that offered a free, temporary place to stay when treatment is in another city; the Look Good, Feel Better program, which helps improve self esteem and quality of life for cancer patients through complimentary group, individual and self-help beauty session, and college scholarships.
The Parker County committee is also looking for ways to honor survivors throughout the day. Currently, a survivor dinner is scheduled for the evening, as well as a survivor/caregiver lap around 6 p.m. After sunset, a luminaria, complete with bags lit up with candles, will be lit around the track. Bags are available for purchase for $10, and can be bought in honor of or in memory of cancer victims. In addition, the committee is hoping to add a slideshow to accompany the luminaria.
A mission lap will also take place, where participants pass on a flag while revealing a goal or mission for themselves.
“The ultimate goal is to raise money for the American Cancer Society. That’s where the money goes,” Perkins said.
To sign up, donate or participate on the committee, visit the event website at www.relayforlife.org/weatherfordtx.