Lincolnton kicked off its 2005 Relay for Life Thursday to an unusually large turnout of approximately 100 including some 20 to 30 cancer survivors.
Relay for Life is the signature fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society. The campaign will climax May 6-7 at Lincolnton High School stadium when relay teams representing schools, churches, businesses and various organizations, set up campsites and field walkers during an all-night vigil. The event features a survivorsâ€™ lap and lighting of luminaries to honor those afflected by cancer.
A catered meal from Fatz and entertainment from the â€œRight Trackâ€ were featured at Thursdayâ€™s kick-off as participants gathered around tables decked out with balloons.
Honorary Chairman John Elmore, the former principal at G.E. Massey welcomed the crowd with a message of hope as he described his long battle with renal cancer that began at age 58 and eventually affected his lungs. At one point during his illness â€œI was sent home to die,â€ Elmore recalled. Doctors at a Duke University treatment center offered him little hope, he recalled.
But today, with the help of oncologists in the Charlotte area, Elmoreâ€™s claim to life is stronger than ever. In fact, he is known as Dr. Richard Whiteâ€™s â€œstar patientâ€ because of his remarkable progress.
Participants also heard from cancer survivor Tony Setzer, who has designed a purple heart for fellow survivors. He sells them for $5.95, donating $1 to the American Cancer Society. Setzer is operator of Gas Station Antiques, had two kidneys removed.
Lincolnton Relay Chairman John Dancoff said volunteer efforts, entertainment and food from Fatz helped account for the big turnout.
â€œWe sent out abut 100 invitation and got 80 RSVPs,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s a lot more than we usually get.â€
Attendants gathered materials and information about the event, which is scheduled for May 6-7 at Lincolnton High School. Dancoff said a change this year will be the timing of the Survivors dinner, which is now scheduled on the Friday evening of the Relay.
During the Relay event participants set up a camp site and field walkers during an overnight event that features entertainment, food, and many fund-raising events.
The Lincoln County event is nationally recognized, ranking 5th in its population category after raising a total of more than $350,000 That total represents the combined total of funds raised by the Lincolnton event and the East Lincoln Relay, which is held in early April at East Lincoln High School.
For information on forming a team or any other details, call John Dancoff at 704-732-3396, or Susan Beaver at 704-735-1483.
by Al Dozier