Gala has people talking

By Chrysta Carroll -

ELIZABETHTOWN — An evening of fun, food and fervor was experienced Saturday, Feb. 13, as guests assembled for Relay for Life’s first-ever Valentine’s Gala.

The event, attended by people from all over the county, had people talking.

“A lot of people commented about how beautiful it was, that the food was awesome, and they were saying they had never been to anything on that scale around here,” said Mary Carter-Williams, captain of Bladen County Relay for Life. She estimated that 90 people attended the affair, putting them just shy of their goal of 100.

The evening meal was catered by Cindy’s Drive-Thru and Catering in Elizabethtown. Attendees were treated to chicken, roast beef, cabbage, green beans, potatoes, and two cakes. 200 cupcakes were donated to the cause by the owner of the recently revamped City Sandwich Shop, who himself is a survivor of leukemia.

The occasion was attended to by five high school students, each of whom was responsible for a section of tables.

“They looked like butlers and carried food for people who couldn’t carry it themselves,” stated Agnes Willis, co-captain of Bladen County Relay for Life.

TL Photography out of Wilmington captured the event as well as its participants, dressed in their finest, as they arrived at the gala.

With donations that would be picked up this week, Carter-Williams anticipates that the financial goal of $3,000 for the fundraiser should be met.

“Businesses from Lumberton and Bladenboro donated, and we’re still expecting more businesses to chip in,” said Carter-Williams.

All of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society and will be used in researching a cure for cancer, providing housing for patients and their families, and offering counseling, support groups, transportation, and hair replacement services.

The evening was celebrated by honoring those who have passed away from cancer and recognizing those in attendance who are survivors of the disease. Organizers showed a video about hope, an informational video about the American Cancer Society, and a Steve Harvey video. Topics of the evening included diet and exercises, cancer research breakthroughs, transportation, and hair management.

Willis and Carter-Williams are hoping to make the gala an annual event and are anticipating one major change for next year. “We had a wide range of contributors, but would like to see a more diversified group at the gala,” said Carter-Williams.

The next major fundraising effort by the group will be the Relay for Life event, which will be held May 7 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Elizabethtown Middle School.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll

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