Weakley East fighting back
Mary Jean Hall, Special to The Press
Weakley County residents worked together to raise money for the American Cancer Society at the Weakley East Relay for Life. The different teams were creative on how they would ‘beat out’ cancer.
Cancer survivors and family members, team members, and people from the community worked together to raise money to try to achieve what Relay for Life represents- the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.
The Weakley East Relay for Life kicked off on Friday evening with the Opening Ceremony and Survivor Lap. During the Survivor Lap, cancer survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories that have been achieved over cancer.
There were three Honorary Chairs and two Youth Representatives who led the Survivor Lap. The three Honorary Chairs were Darren Williams of Dresden, Genie Dilday of Gleason, and Faye Davis of Palmersville. Nathan Ayers and Jacob Barker were the Youth Representatives.
Following that lap, the caregivers join the survivors for a lap to be recognized. Caregivers are those individuals who give their time, love, and support to friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers who face cancer.
This year, the following teams participated: BancorpSouth, Bank of Gleason, Beech Springs Baptist Church, CareAllHome Care Services-Dresden, First State Bank, Gleason First Methodist Church, Niki Lee’s Concessions, Gleason School, Hillview Community Living Center, Pierce’s Pooh Bears, Palmersville Family & Friends, State Farm Insurance, and the Weakley County Rehab and Nursing Center. Later on during the night, all of the participants, survivors, and caregivers gathered for the Luminaria and Torch of Hope Ceremonies to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease. These ceremonies occurred after the sun set, and consisted of lining the track with illuminated luminarias.
The survivors, caregivers, and other participants resolved to keep fighting to save more lives so no more luminaria bear the names of those who lost to the disease. There were also fireworks after the luminaria ceremony.
A group of dedicated participants stayed until 5 a.m. Saturday morning for the Fight Back Ceremony, which is when the participants made a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. That personal commitment may be to do something as simple as getting a screening test, quitting smoking, or talking to elected officials about cancer.
By taking action, Relay for Life participants hope to take the steps to save lives, fight back against a disease, and eventually, create a world with more birthdays.
For more information about Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org.