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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
ELIZABETHTOWN — Despite being a banker and recently battling cancer, Tom Lally has a sense of humor.
That’s why his wife, Barbara, picked a clown theme for their Relay for Life tent.
Lally was a little evasive about his own plans to don circus garb Friday.
“We’re going to be very much in the theme,” he said.
The 48-year-old Elizabethtown man has an informed perspective on the event, which the American Cancer Society sponsors to raise money for research.
Lally owes a lot to medical advances. Clear of throat cancer since last fall, all that lingers is a small scar. Just a few years ago, he may have been left with deep neck gouges because of the way the disease had been treated. And if this were five years in the future, he may not have gotten cancer at all, because he said a doctor told him an injection will prevent this type of the disease.
Support, however, comes from more than just the medical community.
“Cancer is not an illness you can go through alone,” he said.
His wife, for instance, made him keep visiting doctors to find out why his throat continued to hurt. His diagnosis was difficult because he didn’t smoke or chew tobacco.
Then there is community support. The majority of people at the Relay aren’t cancer survivors but show up to help those who have it, he said.
Lally — not one to typically rely on others — credits the “gift of compassion” with saving him.
Those moved to do something will gather this year at Freeman Lake Park for the Elizabethtown Relay. It was moved from Central Hardin High School because of tornado damage there earlier this year, organizer Richard Price said.
After the 6 p.m. opening ceremonies, participants will walk a quarter-mile loop, sometimes being relieved by teammates. Closing ceremonies start at 2 a.m.
In addition to the change in venue, other new things this year will be recognition of primary caregivers and an early-morning motivational speech.
Local groups raise tens of thousands of dollars through fundraising efforts that range from cornhole tournaments to bake sales.
Another Relay for Life event in Radcliff will be at North Hardin High School from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. starting June 6.
This event will include music, games an attempt to ring the school's track with donated quarters, spokesman Wolf Parker said.
Participants can just show up the day of the events.
John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746.