WILLIAMSON – The 2016 Tug Valley Relay for Life Paint the Town Purple event will be held Friday, June 17 at the Lefty Hamilton Park in West Williamson from 6 p.m. until midnight.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Mingo County Commission, Chris Dotson, Event Lead with the Tug Valley Relay for Life, approached the commission to discuss the upcoming event.
“Relay for Life is the largest and signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. This is our 31st year of doing Relay … Relay for Life is a time for you to gather and honor and celebrate those who are battling cancer, who are still battling cancer, and those who may have lost the battle to cancer,” Dotson stated.
Dotson then provided details about the event. “If you come to Relay, let me just give you a quick break down of what you are going to see. You are going to see all our tents set up. Our various teams come and decorate based on the theme. This year, our theme is Peace, Love, and Relay so you are going to see a lot of hippies out there this year,” Dotson explained.
Dotson described the event as both emotional and fun. “We start out with our Survivor Lap. All of the survivors in attendance gather together and they walk the first lap. We all stand and honor them. On the second lap, their caregivers join in and we all watch and honor them as well. If you have not been, those two things do not sound like much, but when you are standing there and you see those survivors walk by, or you see someone walking that lap who is currently undergoing treatment, you will not believe the emotion that you are overcome with. When you see their caregiver grab their arm and help them around, the emotion gets stronger. On the third lap, everyone is asked to join in and that lightens the mood just a dab. We have lots of fun and relay activities. This year, we are going to have a dance challenge portion …Then, we have the Luminaria Ceremony. Those are the bags you buy with the names on them. After dark, we turn off all the lights and the bags are lit and line the track. We ask everyone to be silent…We ask everyone to take a few moments and a couple laps in silence as they walk around and read the names. Again, if you haven’t been; if you haven’t experienced it, come. You won’t believe the emotion that one little lit bag will invoke in you. After that, we lighten the mood a little bit and get the music back. We have live entertainment and acts and an awesome D.J. There is food, entertainment and something for everyone to do.”
Paint the Town Purple is a community wide event. The Tug Valley Relay for Life hopes to have all of the Tug Valley community from Pike to Mingo participate. To increase community involvement, the Tug Valley Relay for Life hopes to have a Paint the Town Purple Display Contest at local businesses. “We want Relay for Life to be a community event each year. We ask that you Paint the Town Purple so that we can raise awareness for cancer research. We will ask the businesses to do their Paint the Town Purple displays. Last year, we had contests for the businesses. We hope we can get that contest out again this year,” Dotson explained.
Purple bows are also being sold as a Relay for Life Paint the Town Purple fundraiser by the Williamson Woman’s Club. “We ask all of our residents to buy the purple bows. The Woman’s Club sells these bows as their fundraiser for their team,” Dotson stated. The bows are $5 each. To purchase a bow contact Leigh Ann Ray, Woman’s Club President at 606-794-3564 or Sherry Hatfield at 606-525-5032.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)