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Relay organizers planning big birthday party!

FPS staff report

There’s a party planned this weekend at the Carroll County Fairgrounds and the community is invited!

The Carroll County Relay for Life has chosen to celebrate the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society during its annual Relay, which officially begins Friday evening at 6 p.m. and continues through Saturday morning.

“We hope the community will join as we celebrate survivors, remember those who have lost their battle with cancer and fight back against this disease during our Relay for Life,” said Co-chair Carol McIntire.

“In the last 100 years, the American Cancer Society has led the way to transform cancer from deadly to treatable to preventable,” she continued. “We have chosen a birthday theme for this year’s event for two reasons: not only is it the 100th birthday of the Cancer Society, through the efforts of the Cancer Society, more and more survivors every year are celebrating birthdays. That’s the perfect reason for a party!”

“We have a lot of great teams this year who have been busy raising money for research and to support local programs. We thank them for all their hard work and hope the community will come celebrate their accomplishments alongside them,” she said.

A survivor’s dinner will be held Friday from 4:30 until 6 p.m. in the Senior Friendship Center. All county cancer survivors are invited to attend the picnic-style dinner along with a guest. All survivors who attend will receive a free-t-shirt.

Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. at the stage, which will be located near the south end of the grandstand. During opening ceremonies, teams will be introduced and survivors will gather with their caregivers for the Survivor Lap. The survivor with the birthday closest to May 22, the official date of the 100th birthday of the Cancer Society, will be asked to cut the ribbon, which officially begins the event.

Survivors and their caregivers are invited to participate in the survivor lap, which encompasses about two-tenths of a mile.

In following the birthday party theme, team members will participate in an event known as “Cupcake Wars.” Categories include best decorated, best display, judge’s choice and people’s choice. The people’s choice award will be determined by the entry that raises the most money in a donation jar. The contest begins at 7:30 p.m.

Many of the 14 participating teams will have fundraisers set up at their campsites, which will surround the walking track. Visitors are encouraged to visit the campsites.

Team members will compete in a variety of fun events during the evening hours leading up to the emotional luminaria ceremony.

“The luminaria ceremony is a ceremony of remembrance and hope,” McIntire stated. “It symbolizes a time to grieve for those we have lost, to reflect on our own cancer experience or that of those closest to us and to find hope that tomorrow holds the promise of a cancer-free world.”

The ceremony begins at approximately 9 p.m. at the stage area. Local resident and two-time breast cancer survivor Denise Teeter will share her story. Jennifer Gotschall will provide special music and Rev. Wally Anderson and Al Liber will read the list of names for whom luminaria bags have been purchased. The ceremony concludes with a silent lap around the track with illumination provided by the luminaria bags.

Luminaria bags will be available for purchase during the evening for a suggest donation of $10. Bags can be purchase in memory of someone who lost their battle in cancer, in honor of a survivor or in recognition of a caregiver.

Teams will continue to walk track during the night in a relay-style manner and also participate in a variety of fun events.

Saturday morning activities begin with a breakfast sponsored by the Angels of Mercy team at 7 a.m. in the former Catholic food stand.

The Run for Rosie 5k race is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. In its third year of existence, the race has grown steadily each year and this year, is a Subway Challenge Event.

Organizers Linda Moreland and Tonya Howell said they are expecting over 300 runnners/walkers to participate this year. “The route will leave the fairgrounds and travel into Carrollton and then finish on what is known as the midway behind the grandstand,” the pair explained. “We are excited to have so many runners already signed up and ready to participate. We also have many volunteers who are assisting with the race since we are expecting a large crowd.”

Awards for the Run for Rosie race begin at 9:30 a.m. and awards for Relay teams will be presented at 10:30 a.m.

Anyone with questions can contact McIntire at 330-627-5591 or Co-Chair Debbie Senko at 330-627-0458.

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