A victory lap

During the Relay For Life kickoff meeting, participants took a moment to walk a lap around a mock track. Pictured are Trice Henry, front right, followed by committee member, Tes Stewart, left. The event is slated to begin at 7 p.m. Friday, May 4, and run through 7 a.m. Saturday, May 5.

The worldwide movement known to many as the largest fundraiser of its kind to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember the loved ones lost, and to fight back against the disease, is making its annual visit to Cooke County on May 4-5.

The Relay For Life of Cooke County hosted its kickoff meeting at the Stanford House Monday.

The event brought to life the importance of what each dollar raised means. Last year, the Cooke County relay raised $90,694 for cancer research with the help of 29 teams.

“This year it is our goal to raise $100,000 with 35 teams,” event chair, Stacy Dickerson said.

“But, our biggest goal is to bring our community together as a family to educate them about what Relay For Life is all about, in order to get them more involved in this event.”

This year’s relay has a lot of support behind it from the event’s planning committee. This year’s committee includes:

• Event chair — Stacy Dickerson

• Event co-chair and accounting — Gail Hollowly

• Survivorship chair — Cherilyn Pollard

• Luminaria chair — Lisa Dieter

• Team development — Melissa Wilson

• Team recruitment chair — Amanda Riley

• Entertainment — Stacy Dickerson

• Activities — Amy Henry

• Online data chair — Russell Moon

Last year’s event had 400 team members participate, 133 survivors, and altogether more than 1,000 people involved, Dickerson said. It is their goal to exceed last year’s numbers to make the 2012 relay the best yet.

Each relay is given a theme, Dickerson said. “Our theme we decided to go with a Hollywood theme so that everyone could come out and be our star.”

During the kickoff, teams committee member Kelli Harrison explained why Relay For Life is an overnight event. The relay symbolizes the experience cancer patient goes through the treatment process

Harrison explained the significance of the relay. The relay begins when the sun is shining bright and the excitement and energy is flowing through the community. The setting sun symbolizes the time when the patient is diagnosed with cancer. The day is getting darker and this represents the cancer patients state of mine as he or she feels that life is on an unknown journey. As the evening goes on, it gets cooler and darker, just as the emotions of the patients do.

She said around 1 or 2 a.m., relay participants have been walking for hours and may begin to feel tired and desire to take a break or go home. This represents the time when a cancer patient starts treatment. It is at that time many patients become exhausted, some sick, not wanting to go on, possibly wanting to give up.

Just as the cancer patient cannot give up on his or her treatment, Relay participants push through this phase, showing utility with cancer patients around the world. The sun rising represents the end of treatment for the cancer patient. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that life will goes on. The morning light brings on a new day full of life and excitement for new beginnings for the cancer patient. As participants, they feel the brightness of the morning and know that the end of the Relay is close at hand, Harrison said.

 Dates to remember for the 2012 Relay For Life are:

• Feb. 27 — Team captain meeting at Landmark Bank at 6 p.m.

• March 26 — Team captain meeting at Landmark Bank at 6 p.m.

• April 9 — Deadline for luminara pictures.

• April 21 — Survior/Caregiver Brunch — time and date will be announced.

• April 24 — Team captain meeting at First State Bank Conference Center at 6 p.m.

• May 4 — Relay For Life at the Lepoard Stadium. The survivor lap will begin at 7 p.m.

To register for a team or find out more information about Relay For Life of Cooke County visit www.relayforlife.org/cookecotx or visit the facebook page at www.facebook.com/rflcooke.

For more information on Cooke County’s relay for life, contact Stacy Dickerson sdickerson@suddenlink.net or the Amercian Cancer Society staff partner Brandi Adams at brandi.adams@cancer.org.

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