Decatur County fights cancer with Relay for Life

Published 2:38 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

“Why do you relay?” is a question you may hear as survivors, volunteers and healthcare workers make their way around the track at Bainbridge Middle School Saturday, April 26.

The Relay for Life of Decatur County will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. that Saturday, celebrating those in the community that have beat their fight with cancer and remembering those who passed away because of the sickness with a special ceremony.

But Relay for Life, while it is a national organization, is personal and all about community for those who are involved.

“I relay for my future children,” Lacey Addison said, who is the chairman of the event this year and works as a respiratory therapist at Memorial Hospital and Manor. “One day I will have kids and I don’t want them to be affected by cancer. One day I want the world to be cancer free and how great would that be if no one had to hear that word again — cancer.”

Addison, who has served as a team captain for the last several years with Memorial, is now leading the event as a whole. She said she encourages everyone on her team to ask others at the event, “Why do you relay?”

“You can talk to anyone at Relay for Life and ask them why they are there — they will tell you they know someone who had cancer,” Addison said. “Almost everyone has been affected by cancer in some way. Everyone knows someone who has had cancer.”

Addison said the funds raised at relay go toward local cancer needs as well as national cancer research funds.

The goal for the Decatur County chapter is $67,000 and there are currently 36 teams reaching to raise it.

One team is the Potter Street Elementary team led by Nancy Kennedy, who has been team captain since 2003.

Kennedy and the students at Potter Street Elementary have raised more than $4,000 this year and they are hoping they have risen even more by the time they turn their funds into Relay next week.

So far this year they have had class contests like a “pink chain campaign,” and even a pageant.

“We raised money by having contests with the classes to see who could sell the most paper hearts and we had a pink chain campaign and the classes with the most money raised got pizza parties,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy personally relays for members of her family that have had cancer. Her mother survived a battle with stomach cancer in the 1990s and is still alive today. This encourages Kennedy to keep leading the Potter Street team.

“We have to fight for the people who have cancer and give them a fighting chance,” Kennedy said. “It’s such an awesome thing in the community. What touches me the most is the walk with the survivors at the beginning of the relay — everyone claps for the survivors as they take their lap around. Of course my mother is always a part of that.”

There are multiple activities that go into the Relay for Life event Saturday, April 26. There will be an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. and the cancer survivors from the community take a lap around the track while the crowd applauds and celebrates their victory.

“That is usually very emotional and I always cry. That always gets me when everyone stands and applauds for their whole a lap around the track,” Addison said.

Throughout the day there will be scheduled events and different singers and performers giving live entertainment from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

There will be a bra-decorating contest between participating teams, a Dude Looks Like A Lady pageant, egg toss and Road to Recovery race.

At 8:45 p.m. there will be a luminary ceremony where participants will light luminaries dedicated in someone’s honor that lost a battle to cancer, followed by a silent and emotional lap around the track.

Addison said there are still funds being collected and many ways residents can participate in the activities April 26.

Visit www.relayforlife.org/decaturga to donate, learn how to participate and purchase a luminary in someone’s honor.