Under a full moon, the event took on the atmosphere of a carnival before taking on a solemn dignity as cancer victims and survivors alike were honored in the Luminaria Ceremony. With a candle in a white paper sack, a soft white glow was imparted on the track. On the visitor’s bleachers, several luminaria spelled the word “Hope,” which is a theme of the American Cancer Society.
The first lap around the track was led by a bagpiper, playing the always-moving “Amazing Grace.” Once completed, an invocation was delivered by Brother Mike Jones of the Oak Grove Baptist Church. Reminding the audience of the scope of this disease, he said, “Everyone is touched by the effects of cancer. We stop to remember those effected, and have a memorial to the deceased, and celebrate the survivors who have flourished.”
After a few inspirational songs, the names of whom the luminara were dedicated to were read. First came the memorials, followed by those honored for their continued survival against cancer.
Saturday afternoon saw the return of the carnival environment. Fun and games accompanied fundraising for the cause. Plenty of attendees wore costumes while others performed skits and sang.
Honorary co-chairperson and cancer survivor La Keisha Graves gave her thanks for the Relay For Life. “A long time ago, cancer patients didn’t have as many chances to live. Now, there are a lot more survivors. Because of events like the Relay, patients don’t have to worry about having a place to stay, even for their families while they are in the hospital.”
She had stayed until midnight on Friday, and had returned that morning at 11, spending the day at the event, inspiring others.
As the Relay For Life drew to a close, awards were announced for a number of events. Karen Clement said, “I have done a lot of things for the American Cancer Society, but Trigg County and the Relay For Life are where my heart is. Things were better after the Relay, and will keep getting better as we move into the future.”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.