Ready, set, Relay

Published 8:34 pm Monday, January 16, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
Relay for Life teams and sponsors gathered on Tuesday at First United Methodist Church for a kick-off luncheon to begin this years annual event.
"The luncheon was designed to get the teams and sponsors together to meet and visit with each other," Walt Butler, Relay for Life chairman said.
Relay for Life is an overnight event that celebrates cancer survivors and raises money for cancer research and programs through the American Cancer Society.
This year's theme is Cancer is Not a Fairy Tale. With this theme participating teams will use the fairytale theme to decorate with.
"We want people to know that cancer is real," Butler said. "There have been some major things that have happened over the last year in the fight of cancer. A new drug has been released this past year for cervical cancer that is said to do the job if caught in time. We are really excited about the progress and research being done."
Atmore resident, Annice Barnhill serves as the Director of the South East Alabama chapter of the American Cancer Society. Each year every director with the society chooses an event to be part of. Barnhill chose to be affiliated with Atmore's Relay for Life.
"I am from McCullough and live and work in Atmore," Barnhill said. "Atmore is home to me, so I chose it. I am so excited to be working with this years drive. I am the mother of a survivor and know that every dollar makes a difference and our goal is to eliminate cancer."
The goal for this years Relay is $70,000 and a total of 25 teams. Twenty-three teams have currently signed up.
"People ask me where does the money go from the relay," Barnhill said. "I tell them that it is probably a good thing that they don't know where it goes, because that means that they have never had to use the programs that are funded and made possible by the relay money. We have so many educational programs to assist cancer patients and survivors that benefit from the funds."
Relay for Life chairman, Walt Butler is one such recipient of the many programs offered through the American Cancer Society.
Butler, a survivor of colon cancer, spoke at Tuesday's luncheon about his experience with cancer and the significance and importance of Relay for Life.
"I stand before you today a blessed man – a miracle," Butler said. "There are several reasons why I am able to stand before you today. The first is prayer and then research. When you live on borrowed time, you learn to live a little different and to love a little different. We are all living on borrowed time and I believe our Relay for Life committee is doing a great job this year and I am excited about the sponsors and teams we have and the money we are going to raise to further cancer research and find a cure."
Team captains will be meeting at noon on Thursday, Jan. 19 at Brooks Memorial Baptist Church.

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