ELIZABETHTOWN — According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime probability of developing cancer for American males is one in two, slightly higher than the one in three probability for American females. With the goal in mind of eventually snuffing out cancer, the Bladen County Relay for Life team is organizing its annual fundraising walk, which will be held on May 7 at Elizabethtown Middle School.
“I think everyone in Bladen County has been affected in some way by cancer,” said event organizer Mandy Padrick.
The “Paint Your World Purple” event will kick off at 11 a.m. with Leap of Faith. The Rev. Nathan Morton from Elizabethtown Baptist Church will conduct a high noon service, followed by a “Fight Like a Girl” lap and a “Best Friends” lap.
A frozen T-shirt contest and a quitter lap will take place at 1:45 p.m. At 2 p.m. is the “Sweetheart Lap,” and Kids Walk activities — such as a hula hoop contest and musical chairs — are scheduled to begin at the same time.
A relay pageant will take place at 3:45, where contestants will be given materials and are required to make an outfit from them. The Classic Cruisers will take a lap at 5 p.m. Dance Time begins at 5:30, followed by an opening ceremony at 6 p.m.
“We keep the opening ceremony at 6 for the survivors, so that they’re not out there in the heat of the day,” said Padrick.
The Survivor Lap will take place at 6:30, the Power of Purple Lap at 8:15, and the Luminaria Ceremony at 9 p.m.
“The favorite part for most people is the luminaries,” Padrick stated. “All the lights are out, and we read out the names of the people who have bought luminaries.”
Throughout the day, food vendors will be available with goodies such as steak sandwiches and fried cookies.
“We always get a lot of good feedback about the food,” said Padrick.
In addition to food, Relay T-shirts will be available for purchase, as will the luminaries. All money raised goes towards the American Cancer Society’s research for a cure for cancer.
In addition to numerous other activities, various entertainers are scheduled throughout the day as well, such as church groups, bands, and soloists.
In about its 19th year, the walk has been a major source of local funding, raising around $110,000 last year. Padrick reported that this year’s goal is $115,000 and that $59,000 has already been raised.
“While it’s important to support causes locally,” said Padrick, “I want people to realize that Relay for Life resources — like hotlines — are available for people in Bladen County, so this fundraiser does affect us here. In addition, this is the only organization that researches a cure for cancer, which directly affects Bladen County.”
So far, 292 participants comprising 29 teams have registered for the event, and anyone else wishing to do so may log on here or search online for “Relay for Life Bladen County.”
“I just want to encourage everybody to come out — even if you just want to watch — to support the survivors,” Padrick said.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.