The American Cancer Society’s Relay for life was held at San Marcos High School on Oct. 24 and 25 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. The Relay is an inspirational event giving hope to cancer survivors and helps raise funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.
Chair of this year’s event, Keri Eben, expects to raise over $15,000. Sam’s Club Team Captain, Candice McColm stated, they will be making a $5,000 donation to the event. The 21-member team from the Hays County Courthouse raised about $1,400 this year.
In celebration of life, the opening ceremony began with a presentation of colors by the SMHS, Texas 921st Air Force Jr. ROTC. During the ceremony Survivors stated their name, type of cancer, and number of years survived.
“Every year I look forward to this celebration of life. It is an anniversary of another year of life,” said Carol Prentiss. “I get to see old friends still living. It is warming to my soul to think people out there are honoring us.”
The relay began as survivors took the emotional, first lap while the words of “Eye of the Tiger” played over the loud speakers. Those on the sidelines applauded, cheered and whistled in celebration of life. Caretakers joined in support of the survivors during the second lap, followed by walkers from 22 local teams. These teams were made up of SMHS students, Texas State students, local businesses and government, as well as family and friends. Each team has someone on the track at all times.
Angie’ Voice, a strong team of family members honoring Angie Guinn, have been participating in the relay for 15 years. “We don’t want any one to have to live through what we did,” said Veronica, who lost her mother Angie when she was 12 years old. Angie’s sister, Rosie shared, “The children look forward to this event. It reminds you to go get checked,” Angie’s Voice has raised over $5,600 since they began doing the relays.
The evening’s events included a Luminary Ceremony, Halloween costume contest for the children, midnight pizza party, scavenger hunt, rooster crow contest, tug-of-war, and breakfast. During the luminary ceremony names of persons touched by cancer were read in a silent remembrance. These names were written on bags lining the sides of the track. Each bag contained a small light representing “people coming together one light after another.”
“Being able to say thanks,” is important to Michael Leppoard, whose wife has survived 5 types of cancer. For Michael, “This event helps put a face to a name.”
Tents of each relay team were set up along the track. These tents were gathering places for food, drink, baked goods, face painting, raffles, and a place to talk and rest.
Survivor, Gloria Wilson enjoys the relays. “I get to see other people with cancer having fun. It’s a chance to be around other people with cancer and let me know I am not alone in this fight. I don’t have to just dwell on the cancer. ”
by Elisa Laraia