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Relay to celebrate ACS 100th birthday

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Celebration is the theme of Carroll County’s 2013 Relay for Life event, set for 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.

Events chairman Teresa Lewis said this year marks the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society, the organization that benefits from funds raised each year at Relay events nationwide.

A Birthday Hat Contest is one of the new events this year, intended to help Relay team members and other participants with the ACS celebration, Lewis said.

Another new event replaces the Mr. and Mrs. Relay contest from last year. This year, contestants will dress as their favorite “reality TV” stars and perform skits, before going out to work the crowd to see which team can collect the most donations.

Contestants will be allowed toperform two- to three-minute skits (limited to no more than three contestants per skit) that revolve around the TV show they selected, Lewis said. The team that collects the most money from the crowd will be named the winner.

As always, there will be the Survivors Lap, during which those who are fighting or have succeeded in their fight against cancer – and their caregivers – take a lap around the Relay track. Lewis said 39 local survivors participated last year, and she is hoping to have at least 50 participate this year.

While more survivors could indicate more people have been diagnosed with cancer, the Survivors Lap is intended to show that the disease doesn’t always win and that strides have been made towards curing it.

“The more survivors you have [participating], the better,” Lewis said.

The Luminaria Service at 10 p.m. is a more somber ceremony, but a beautiful one, she said. For this, paper bags filled with sand and lighted tea candles are set to illuminate the track. Each lighted bag is dedicated to the memory of someone who lost their fight with cancer.

“If anyone has not been to this ceremony, you should go,” Lewis said. “It is awesome. … It’s a very reverent time, remembering those lost and honoring those surviving and fighting.”

Collections for the event reached a peak of about $105,000 in 2008, but totals have fallen in recent years, mostly because of the nation’s ailing economy, Lewis said. Last year, the event raised $84,000 and Lewis said organizers are hoping signs of an economic upturn may translate to meeting their goal of just under $86,000 for 2013.

If participation is an indicator, the goal may be realistic. Last year, only nine Relay teams participated and this year 15 teams have signed up, Lewis said.

Either way, Lewis said the event should be a good time and added that Mother Nature seems to be cooperating. The forecast, she said, calls for a sunny 91 degrees on Friday. On Tuesday, weather forecasters predicted that rain would stay away from the area throughout the weekend.

“We’re looking to have a great time,” Lewis said.

For more information about Relay and a schedule of events, please see Pages 12 and 13, or visit the county’s Relay Facebook page, RelayForLifeOfCarrollCountyKy.