By Keeli Parkey
Unicoi County residents will join forces to ‘Paint Your World Purple’ this weekend in the fight against cancer.
The 2016 Unicoi County Relay For Life to benefit the American Cancer Society will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Unicoi County High School track field in Erwin. The annual event raises funds to help those diagnosed with cancer in many ways, an event coordinator told The Erwin Record.
“Money raised by Relay For Life funds research, awareness programs, local patient assistance, patient resources, support phone lines and advocacy efforts,” said Renea Jones-Rogers, chairwoman of the Unicoi County Relay For Life.
Jones-Rogers encouraged everyone to support this weekend’s event.
“At some point, we will all know and love someone that battles this often deadly disease,” she said. “Cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease, so likewise neither is the cure. It takes an incredible amount of research and treatment plans to battle the multitudes of cancer cells and it takes lots of dollars to fight this war.
“Community involvement raises the much-needed funds to combat this disease, it encourages survivors and gives them strength to continue to fight and it is an opportunity to remember those who lost their battles in a very special celebration of their life,” she continued. “We need the community to come out and show their Unicoi County compassion, not only for those in their family, but also for our community. We need our community to come out and ‘Paint Your World Purple’ while helping to raise much needed dollars to continue to fund cures.”
Jones-Rogers has personal experience with the work of the American Cancer Society.
“That ugly ‘C word’ has impacted me personally on many levels, but the most impact was with my son’s diagnosis,” she said. “Relay For Life had always been an event I attended and felt connected to, but as a mother of a child with cancer words cannot explain the emotions that you feel.
“Relay For Life became a light of hope for me. Organizers reached out and teachers, family and friends started a team in his honor – a team that became my life support during those difficult days and later a team that gave us a purpose as we transitioned into the ‘no evidence of disease’ phase. I realized I want to help be that light of hope for others. I relay for hope,” she added.
The community can continue the fight against cancer after Saturday’s event, Jones-Rogers also said. Teams will be raising funds through the end of the year.
The opening ceremony of the 2016 Unicoi County Relay For Life will begin at 1 p.m. at the track. Events will continue until 11 p.m. and will include a reception for survivors at 5 p.m., the survivor lap at 6:45 p.m., team lap at 7 p.m., luminaria ceremony at 10 p.m. and Glo Run at 11 p.m., among others. There will also be live music.
A full schedule and other information of the event can be found in the special Relay For Life supplement included in this issue of The Erwin Record.