WILLIAMSON — The Annual Tug Valley Relay for Life was held Friday at 6:00 p.m. and stretched until midnight in Williamson at the Jim Van Zant Baseball Field at Lefty Hamilton Park in West Williamson. The weather was gloomy as storms were rolling in but it didn’t stop the celebration.
The opening ceremony, which took place at 6:00 p.m., brought everyone together for a high-energy event kickoff to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer and inspired hope by sharing recent accomplishments and progress. It also reminded everyone that, while they are winning their battle, fighting cancer is a year-round priority.
Just before the first lap took place for the cancer survivors, two special ladies were united.
Paula Hatfield had read a feature story in the Williamson Daily News that was written about cancer survivor Janee Scott. Scott had received a gift, an Oragami Owl necklace, from a lady at the steak house in South Williamson while she was going through her cancer treatments. Scott said she took the gift and when she turned around Hatfield was already gone. She said she wasn’t able to get her name or to thank her before she left and she had never ran into her again since that day.
“I want to give her a hug and thank her,” stated Scott.
After Hatfield realized that the lady in the story who gave the gift was herself, she called Williamson Daily News’ reporter, Cindy Moore, and told her that she was the one that gave the gift and wanted to meet Scott at the Relay for Life.
It was arranged for the two ladies to meet at the Relay for Life event without Scott being aware of anything that was going on.
Scott was given three pink roses and a card by the news reporter while Hatfield stood back to observe Scott’s reaction. After Scott read the card she realized it was from Hatfield. It was then than tears streamed down her face. Before she could look up from reading the card, Hatfield began to approach Scott with open arms to accept her long awaited hug.
At 6:10 p.m. all cancer survivors walked the first lap around the track of the relay walk to upbeat and energetic music. Other participants lined the track and cheered on the survivors and celebrated their victory over cancer.
Following the first lap, there was a caregivers lap held on lap two. The second lap was dedicated to all those who ever cared for someone with cancer to be honored for their support. The caregivers walked with the individual in which they cared for if that person was able to attend.
At around 9:45 p.m. the Luminaria Ceremony took place. It was a time to remember those who lost the battle to cancer and to support those who are currently battling cancer. I honored all those who fought cancer in the past. It was a time that provided an opportunity for people to work through grief and to find hope.
Relay For Life participants and donors remembered loved ones lost to cancer and honor those battling the disease by dedicating luminaria bags. The luminaria bags were transformed and illuminated after dark at the local Relay For Life event. Each luminaria was personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer. Some luminarias were also dedicated in support of a Relay for Life participant. Each luminaria candle represents a person who is a mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, friend, co-worker and so many others.
There were numerous relay teams that attended to engage in activities to reach a total goal of money raised for all teams. Teams arrived early for the event and acted as vendors of food and other items to raise additional money for cancer research. However, many individuals participated without a team association.
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life movement is the world’s largest and most impactful fundraising event to end cancer. It unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight.
It is a program to raise awareness and funds that enable American Cancer Society to save lives by finding cures and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well.
Everything that was purchased at Relay for Life was for money to be used for cancer research.