By Rebekah Martin
The Lee County Relay for Life held its kick-off meeting Tuesday night. Attendees met with team captains and heard inspirational stories from cancer survivors.
Relay for Life is an community-based effort originated by the American Cancer Society that involves more than 4 million people a year and raises funds and awareness to fight cancer.
Lee County’s 2015 theme is ‘superheroes’ and over 30 teams have already registered. The county goal is 75 teams. The community met its goal and raised more than $170,000 in 2014, and the teams this year aim to raise $175,000 before April. Anyone can form a team – many church groups, businesses and schools have formed teams in Lee County.
Instead of a speaker, the meeting featured a inspirational video of Stuart Scott accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance award at the 2014 ESPY awards. Scott was a sportscaster and ESPN anchor who publicly battled a rare form of cancer for seven years before passing away Jan. 4. Scott brought the audience to its feet with his speech about not letting cancer defeat him.
“When you die, you do not lose to cancer,” Scott said. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live. So live, fight like hell, and, when you get too tired to fight, then lay down, rest and let someone else help you fight.”
Brad Hooks, event leader of the 2015 Relay For Life of Lee County said helping those who have struggled with the disease and who can not fight anymore is why Relay for Life exists.
Relay for Life will be held at the courthouse square in downtown Opelika April 24, beginning at noon with a ‘survivors walk’ and a ‘caregivers walk.’The event will also feature a special lumanaries ceremony at 10 p.m. where attendees can light a luminary in memory of a friend or loved one who battled cancer.
Janet McCoy, Relay for Life volunteer, said the goal is to have someone from each team walking the track for the duration of the event. “Doing that symbolizes that no one who fights cancer fights alone,” McCoy said. The event will run until 12:01 a.m, with games, activities and ceremonies taking place throughout the day.
To register a team or learn more about the Lee County Relay, go to Relayforlife.org/LeeAL.