Lowndes County’s Relay for Life event in Columbus hopes to fill the Columbus Soccer Complex with an “army of purple” on Saturday, April 30. From 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., cancer survivors, caregivers and the wider community will celebrate what has been overcome, remember those lost to the disease and honor people who have fought or are fighting cancer.
“Our theme this year is ‘Paint Your World Purple,’ said Tina Perry, who serves as co-lead with Mott Ellis. Both women are longtime Relay volunteers. The color purple represents every type of cancer and is the signature color of the Relay for Life movement.
“We are encouraging teams to go wild with purple when decorating their campsites this year,” said Perry, who is an employee of The Dispatch.
More than 52 teams representing clubs, churches, businesses and families have already signed up to work toward the event’s goal of raising $150,000.
The American Cancer Society puts the donations to work, investing in groundbreaking research in every type of cancer and providing free information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers.
“We have a host of new teams and sponsors, as well as old ones,” Ellis said. “We’re growing each and every year and are blessed to have a community willing to give back and support every effort put forth in putting an end to cancer.”
The final team captain meeting before the Lowndes County Relay is Monday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle Conference Center.
“Anyone having a team, or who would like to have a team, needs to come to this important meeting,” said Ellis. Drawings for campsites will take place, and logistics about team activities will be reviewed.
Local teams are already conducting a variety of fundraising projects. A sampling includes the Columbus Police Department’s YETI raffle, with proceeds being donated in memory and honor of police officers who have or are battling cancer. Trustmark Bank held a bowling fundraiser. Cadence Bank is holding an art raffle. Many team booths will host fundraisers at the Relay event itself.
Donations may be made online at relay.acsevents.org. Search for Lowndes County, Mississippi.
On April 30
The Relay for Life schedule includes the Opening Ceremony at 2 p.m., a Survivor Celebration at 6 p.m., the Luminaria Ceremony at 8 p.m. and Closing Ceremony at 9 p.m. In between, participants can enjoy food, games, music and other entertainment in a family-oriented environment as team members and supporters walk or run laps on the designated Relay track. Because cancer never sleeps, teams are asked to keep at least one representative walking at all times.
Watch for a complete Lowndes Relay for Life program in The Dispatch April 27.
Admission is free. However, everyone is asked to bring canned food that the planning committee will donate to local food pantries.
One highlight of Relay for Life is the Luminaria Ceremony. Personalized luminaria bags line the track and are illuminated after dark. Each bag is $10 and can be dedicated in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer, or in honor of caregivers.
A luminaria form will be printed in The Dispatch April 18. Or contact Mevela Andrews at 662-241-7180 or 662-242-0459. Forms need to be mailed in no later than April 22.
“We have a wonderful group of Lowndes County Relay committee members but could always use more to help,” said Ellis, “and new faces always make for fresh and exciting ideas.”
Each year brings more new survivors and caregivers to Relay, as well as a cross-section of community members.
“That is what Relay is all about — bringing together those who share in the battle and fight against cancer,” Ellis said.
For more information about the Lowndes County Relay for Life, contact Ellis at 662-574-1104 or Perry at 662-497-4084.
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