The Ashe County Relay for Life kicks off at Ashe County High School on Friday, July 19, with opening ceremonies set to begin at 6 p.m., including the presentation of colors by the Ashe County JROTC, and the singing of the National Anthem by Calli Phipps, remarks by ACS Community Manager Melissa Hiatt, local Relay Chair Mary Jo Black, Judy Morris, and the invocation will be delivered by Ken Morris, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church.
Following the survivor lap at 6:30 p.m., a caregiver ceremony is scheduled, with remarks by ACS Mission Manager Lisa Bottomley about a new CPS-3 (Cancer Prevention Study 3) for this area, which will research lifestyles and teach us what we can do to reduce effects and prevent cancer incidents.
Those who have attended previous Relay for Life events know that one of the most meaningful aspects of the event beyond the survivor lap is the luminary service, which features lighted luminaries that are placed around the track that honors or remembers those who have been touched by cancer. Luminaries may be purchased for $10 each until 8:30 p.m. at the Relay event, and the luminary service will begin around 9 p.m.
With a fund-raising goal of $60,000 this year, local volunteers say that the focus of this year’s event is “Why Ashe County Relays,” with multiple short speakers scheduled to share their stories throughout the night, who are all Ashe County residents.
The community-wide event is always well attended, and is anchored by the involvement of local teams representing churches, businesses and community-based organizations. According to Black, this year’s Relay features 39 business, church and corporate sponsors and a total of 21 local teams.
Lots of activities are scheduled, including music throughout the evening by longstanding volunteer Glen Sullivan, bounce houses for kids, caricature drawings, a dunking booth, multiple walks during the night such as youth, teen, parent and grandparent, sweetheart and even backward walks. Teams also are encouraged to bring a decorated team banner or flag to display during a special team lap around the track. Concessions will be available, including hamburgers, hot dogs, home-baked goods, cotton candy, popcorn, drinks and more.
There will also be tickets for a 50-50 drawing combined with a gift basket of assorted gift certificates from local businesses including the new Hotel Tavern Restaurant, The Vintage Locket and SkyLine-SkyBest. The winner will be announced the night of Relay.
The Ashe County Relay will feature a tent for education, prevention and ‘how you can help’ materials. Hiatt says that Ashe County citizens also will have the opportunity to learn about “Cancer Prevention Study 3” and how and when they can participate in a groundbreaking study, the first of its kind. “This study will research lifestyles and teach us what we can do to reduce effects and prevent cancer incidents,” she said. There also will be information on a “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” event in the Piedmont and how to participate in that event.
For more information about the Ashe Relay event, contact Melissa Hiatt or Mary Jo Black firstname.lastname@example.org.