Arlene doesn't dampen spirits

Published 10:21 am Monday, June 13, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Just as prayers were being sent up for those battling cancer, prayers were also being said in hopes of preventing Tropical Storm Arlene from washing out Friday night's Relay for Life.
Although the event was shortened due to the threat of rain and high winds as the night went on, hundreds came together to help raise money to be used for research in hopes of finding a cure for the deadly disease.
Early Friday afternoon, the fate of the event didn't look too good, as a drenching shower soaked Atmore. Participants' prayers were answered as the sun poked through the dark clouds and made for a beautiful afternoon and a clear night.
It tugged on my heartstrings to see everyone come together for such a great cause. Had it not been for that type of attitude from all the participants, I don't know if our team would have had a tent. Fortunately three kind-hearted women, you know who you are, assisted me in putting up the Advance's tent. Yes, I said women.
As I fumbled through the instruction manual, they came to my rescue and had the tent up quicker than it took me to take the pieces out of the box. After witnessing such an act of kindness, I knew it was going to be a great night.
The Relay's opening ceremonies were very fitting and the survivor's walk was one of those feel-good type moments. It was moving to see the survivors walk their "victory" lap after all they had gone through, all the doctor's appointments, chemotherapy and emotional distraught. They deserved it.
On through the night, the smell of ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs and fish filled the air and one couldn't pass up all those mouth-watering desserts. A sweet tooth was in good company.
At around 9:30 p.m., the crowd grew silent for the luminaria ceremony to remember those that have lost their battle with cancer and to honor those that beat the odds. It was a somber moment, as every participant in the event walked a few laps around the small track at Heritage Park to pay their respects. Candle-lit luminarias lined the exterior of the track making for an emotional 10 minutes.
Besides good food and fellowship, the Relay committee kept participants entertained with music, games, scavenger hunts and a beauty contest. Only these beauties sported five o'clock shadows and looked more like linemen for the New York Giants. The womanless beauty contest not only entertained the crowd, but helped raise another $250 for the cause.
Unfortunately the Advance's contestant, Arlene Storm, known to our readers as sports writer Tim Cottrell, wasn't able to scare donations from the crowd and was only able to raise $7. It could be the fact everyone was running scared.
The event concluded at midnight following team awards and other special presentations. During the closing ceremonies, it was announced that this year's goal of $63,500 was surpassed making it all worthwhile.
All-in-all, this year's Relay for Life, despite being in the midst of this year's first tropical storm, was a huge success.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.

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