Relay for life begins Friday

It began with flamingoes ‘flocking’ residents. A Boot Drive was held last Saturday and the annual Survivor Dinner is tonight. The Relay itself begins Friday evening, June 5, at 7 p.m.
Several residents reported ‘flocks’ of pink flamingoes swooping into their yards quite unexpectedly. Master flamingo wrangler Renee “Pinkie” Claire of Richmond was able to net the birds and relieve anxious homeowners.
A Boot Drive was held around the square in Richmond from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., last Saturday. Sherry Allen, publicity chair for Relay for Life, said, “We just want to thank the community for their encouragement and support. I know they did it last year and raised $750. With the economy the way it is, we were thrilled with this year’s donations.”
Tonight is the Annual Cancer Survivor Dinner, at 6:30 p.m., at the United Christian Presbyterian Church, located at 501 N. Spartan Drive in Richmond. The CME Choir and Bryan and Wendy Shank will perform. Special speakers will address the audience, including Connie Taylor and Mike Carr.
The Relay itself will begin at 7 p.m., Friday, at the Richmond High School track on South Street. Opening ceremonies include the presentation of the flag, singing of the National Anthem, and reading of the Relay Declaration.
After a short welcome and introductions, Connie Taylor will address the relayers on “What Cancer Can Do.” She will be followed by the Orrick cheerleaders, F.R.A.T. Steppers for Christ, Ray County “Heroes of Hope” and survivor introductions.
At this point in the program, excitement usually has built for the opening lap on the track. Cancer survivors step onto the track as a walk of celebration and joy as their family members, friends and neighbors cheer them on.
Halfway around the first lap, caregivers join them.
The Luminaria Ceremony is set to begin at 10 p.m. Luminarias are now at the Ray County Health Department for $5. Luminarias can be purchased at the event with designated names. Many people comment the ceremony is one of the most moving parts of the Relay. A Fight Back Ceremony will be held at midnight; a reminder not to give up and the need for encouragement and hope.
Breakfast will be at 6 a.m., Saturday morning, June 6 and Closing Ceremonies begin at 7 a.m.
Trophies will be given for the Most Enthusiastic Team, the Team Raising the Most Money, the Individual Raising the Most Money, the Team Spending the Entire Night (all team members) and the Most Enthusiastic Team Captain. Twenty-two teams have signed up for the event.
Photo: Last Saturday, six Richmond ladies raised $800 in a Boot Drive for the American Cancer Society. Giving the ‘boot’ to cancer were, left to right, Donna Lamar, Sherry Allen, Lorna Oliphant and Mary Alice Blakeman. (Not pictured: Barb and Christy Hutchings.) This event was held in anticipation of the annual Relay for Life, beginning at 7 p.m., this Friday evening at the Richmond High School track. (submitted photo)

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