By Janet Bresenham
This weekend, people from throughout the community will come together to raise money for cancer research, while enjoying food, games and activities during the eighth annual Curry County Relay For Life.
“It’s all about having fun and remembering cancer survivors, those who are fighting cancer and those who have lost their lives to cancer,” said Relay For Life chair Elizabeth Moore.
This year’s event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday and continues until 10 a.m. Saturday at Ned Houk Park.
“It’s a friendly competition to see who can raise the most money,” Moore said. “We have 44 teams signed up already, and as of (Sunday), we have raised more than $16,000 so far. Some teams have 20-30 people and some have as few as six people.”
Additional teams still may sign up through Friday. Team members do not have to stay all night.
“A lot of people think you have to run during the relay, but that’s a common misconception,” Moore said. “Ninety percent of the people just walk. It’s really an event to walk and meet new people and just hang out together.”
Moore, who works as an airman in the 522nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Unit at Cannon Air Force Base, said there will be a lot of involvement from men and women from the base this year, as well as members of the community.
“We invite anybody and everybody to come out and have fun with us,” Moore said. “We’ll have a couple of live bands and a deejay. We’ll have games all night, such as a hula hoop contest and a hula contest, in which guys dress up in grass skirts.”
Another popular event during the all-night Relay For Life is the “Miss Relay Pageant,” a spoof in which men dress up like women and ride in shopping carts and wagons during a Miss Relay float parade.
One of the more poignant aspects to the Relay For Life is the luminaria lighting ceremony, when thousands of luminarias are placed around the inside and outside of the relay track with the names of cancer survivors and people who have died from cancer.
“It’s very gorgeous to see all of the luminarias lit together around the track and have all the families there,” Moore said. “We’re trying to sell 3,000 luminarias this year, so it will give a really nice glow.”
The luminaria ceremony will take place from 8 to 9 p.m. Friday at the park.
Anyone who wants to purchase a luminaria in advance for a $5 donation can contact a member of any of the teams participating in this year’s Relay For Life or go to Citizens Bank of Clovis at 421 Pile St. Luminarias also may be purchased at the Relay For Life on Friday.
For information or to sign up to participate in this weekend’s Relay For Life in Curry County, call Moore at 693-1629 or call the American Cancer Society office at 762-5112.