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A Community Cause

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Relay for Life coming up

By Robert Villanueva

The “c” word often arouses fear and dread, but many communities change the “c” from “cancer” to “cause,” bringing them together.

Fund-raisers to help those battling cancer take a number of forms, from special nights at restaurants where portions of sales go to help those battling the disease to walks or runs held specifically to gain financial sponsors.

Just as cancer does not discriminate due to age or gender, neither does a community when it comes to participating in events for a cause.

Businesses, schools, churches, civic organizations and individuals, young and old, take part in fundraising events.

Relay For Life is an example.

Both Elizabethtown and Radcliff have scheduled Relay For Life events.

The American Cancer Society event lasts up to 24 hours and consists of teams committed to raising funds and camping out at a location where they walk or run around a track or path. Those battling cancer celebrate life, and those lost to cancer are remembered.

The Elizabethtown event is May 13 at Central Hardin High School, and the Radcliff event is June 10 at North Hardin High School.

Based on past turnout for the Elizabethtown event, organizer Wanda Ballard expects as many as 800 by the event date.

Radcliff event co-chair Kymberly Bush estimated final participation count could be up to 500 based on last year’s attendance.

Indicative of the typically wide spectrum of participating groups, Relay For Life of Radcliff teams go by names such as Good Clear Will, Faith Walkers, Dynamite Dialers and Christian Thugs or by names designating specific affiliations, such as Wal-Mart Saviors, North Hardin Lion’s Club or Stovall UMC.

Likewise, Elizabethtown teams represent a broad range of participants. Teams include West Point Bank, Gatti’s Go Getters, AGC Automotive Americas, Rainbow Warriors, Heart of Kentucky Association of Realtors, Betty’s Team, Memorial Marchers, Phi Theta Kappa: Alpha Lambda Delta Chapter and Team Trey.

Participants have specific reasons for being part of the event. Most believed that a common bond is the impetus for involvement.

“I think that’s a part of it: everybody knows somebody who’s been affected,” Kegan Nall, North Middle School team captain, said. The team is part of Relay For Life of Radcliff.

Nall is the co-sponsor of the school’s student council, which identified the importance of community involvement. The school is not without personal reasons for forming a team.

Andrew Holland, an eighth-grade student at the school, has been the focus of fund-raisers due to his diagnosis of cancer.

Nall said the events and support allow those affected to heal together while connecting with others who have been affected.

“That support really helps,” Nall said.

Paula Grimm’s Radcliff Relay For Life team, Friends for a Cure, organized in 1998 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

“At that time, the doctor said, ‘You have five years to live,’” Grimm said.

Friends for a Cure is made up of Grimm’s family and friends.

“We’re a very close-knit group,” she said.

Grimm described a kinship between all members of Relay teams.

“We can relate to each other,” she said.

The Elizabethtown Relay team Best Western Warriors was formed this year with Cleda Sizemore as team captain.

“It’s close to home for us because our owner’s mother passed away from cancer,” Sizemore said.

Additionally, the father of the general manager has been diagnosed with cancer, she said.

“We just want everyone to be aware of the impact,” Sizemore said.

Emma Rosenkrantz, captain for Radcliff Relay team Radcliff Woman’s Club, called the event a “great community effort.” Though she’s been the team captain for Radcliff Woman’s Club for a couple years, she has been active with Relay for many years.

“It’s something really dear to my heart,” she said.

Like many participants, Rosenkrantz has lost family members to cancer.

“I have one of my daughters who’s a cancer survivor, plus I’m a cancer survivor,” Rosenkrantz said.

Mari Nall, captain for Blue Ball Baptist Church Relay team, said she is very passionate about Relay in part because of the work done by The American Cancer Society in cancer research. Hodgkin’s Cancer, which her sister had, is now curable, she said.

The days of cancer being a taboo subject are gone, Nall said, and more are aware that being diagnosed with cancer is not a death sentence.

“I do Relay because I hope my grandchildren will not know cancer,” she said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

 

Relay For Life of Elizabethtown, 6 p.m. - 6 a.m. May 13-14, Central Hardin High School. To find out more about this event, contact event co-chair Carla D'Alessio at (270) 312-4916 or carla.dalessio@hardin.kyschools.us or visit www.relayforlife.org/etown.

Relay For Life of Radcliff, 5 p.m. – 5 a.m. June 10-11, North Hardin High School. To find out more about this event, contact event co-chair Kymberly Bush at (270) 312-2097 or kysh129@hotmail.com or visit www.relayforlife.org/radcliff.