Relay for Life begins Friday

Published 8:43 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Relay For Life 2013 event will kick off Friday and the 11 teams walking for a cure for cancer plan to keep the laps around Tom Byrne Park going throughout the night and into Saturday morning.

“We’re going until 6 a.m. this year,” Relay For Life Director Gayle Johnson said. “We attempted to go all night last year and it didn’t work out, but we’re trying it again this year. We have more going on this year in the earlier hours of the morning.”

In fact, this year’s Relay event has more going on period.

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Johnson said things will get started during a survivor’s reception Friday at 5:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church on Pensacola Avenue, adding it is not too late to be a part of the event.

“Anybody is welcome,” she said. “The survivor reception especially. It is not by invitation only. If you know a cancer survivor, please invite them to come. Even if they were diagnosed today. We want them to come out.”

Following the reception, Johnson said opening ceremonies will take place at 7 p.m. at the main gazebo at Tom Byrne Park and will include remarks from Atmore Mayor Jim Staff, local ministers and a representative from Relay’s title sponsor, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

“The opening ceremonies will be followed by our survivor and caregivers lap,” Johnson said. “Anybody is welcome to come out and participate and walk with us and socialize. We especially would love a big turnout for that first lap. If they can’t come to anything else, the survivor and caregiver lap is when we applaud all of them and it’s very emotional.”

Also on Friday night, a special luminaria lap will be taken in complete silence in honor of all of the lives affected by cancer. Johnson said the lap will occur at approximately 9 p.m.

Official teams for this year’s Relay event include: Atmore Community Hospital; First National Bank & Trust; Walgreens/Women’s Auxiliary; Johnson Ford; Atmore Family Dentistry; Atmore News; PCI; Wrangler’s Steakhouse; United Bank.