Relay Day is for celebrating, remembering, fighting back

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
Lap after lap was walked Saturday all with the purpose of one day eliminating what has and will affect millions until a cure is found.
Relay for Life of Atmore’s Relay Day was held this weekend at Tom Byrne Park to, as the waving flags said, celebrate survivors, remember those lost and fight back against cancer.
Out of 20 registered Relay teams, 10 set up camp sites at the event, which began at noon and lasted until midnight, and had members from each team along with survivors walking around a modified track at the park
Team members handed off a spirit stick as they alternated laps around the track.
The idea of “relaying” around a track began in the mid-1980s according to the Relay for Life Web site,
Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Wash. single-handedly circled a track for 24 hours, which equaled 83 miles in distance. As the day went on, donations were made to walk the track with the doctor and $27,000 was raised. This led to the first Relay event in 1986, and now the Relay organization is supported throughout the world.
Relay for Life of Atmore chairperson, Deborah Camp, said the local Relay Day was more than a success.
Cancer survivor Dottie Albert said she participated in Saturday’s event not only because of what she has overcome, but because of what is yet to be overcome.
Survivor Tony Odom said he too was there to share in fellowship with other survivors and celebrate his own victory over cancer.
Besides relaying, the day was filled with entertainment, both musical and in the form of team activities. A Luminaria ceremony was held that evening to honor those lost to cancer and to recognize all those affected by it.
It was this part of the evening that Camp said was most poignant to her.
The event was also a time to recognize the teams’ efforts with awards.
Following is a list of Relay for Life of Atmore Award Winners: Paint the Town Purple, Atmore Family Medicine; Best Team Web site, Atmore Nursing; Best Individual Web site, Hannah Gunter; Best fundraiser, First National Bank &Trust; Best campsite food, Atmore First Assembly; Best team song, Atmore First Assembly; Best spirit stick, United Bank; Rookie of the year, Donna Gilman; Individual spirit, Mary Bailey, Amanda Marshall; Team spirit, Winn Dixie; Volunteer of the year, Stacie Spencer; Best campsite, Winn Dixie; Cancer facts, Atmore Family Medicine; Golden pillowcase (most team members at closing ceremonies) Gulf Winds; Individual funds raised, Pat Eddins and team fundraiser, Poarch Creek Indians.
To date, Relay has raised $65,092.38 of its $69,000 goal for the year.

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