Relay for Life will feature hundreds of walkers in fight against cancer

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   The Carter County American Cancer Society Relay for Life will take place this weekend at the Elizabethton High School. Hundreds of people representing several teams will lace up their walking shoes and join in the nation's largest fund-raiser.
   The events will begin at 7 p.m. Friday with an opening ceremony to honor cancer survivors. Cancer survivors are recognized for their courage in fighting and beating the disease with a medallion that identifies them as a survivor. A poignant luminaria ceremony takes place at 9 p.m., honoring cancer survivors, and remembering those who lost their battle. Following the luminaria ceremony will be a fireworks display.
   Community teams keep a member on the walking path all night long while other team members enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere and share the spirit of uniting in the war against such a deadly disease.
   The dollars raised at Relay for Life will allow the American Cancer Society to continue funding research, develop new prevention and detection programs, support advocacy efforts and continue to provide patient services.
   Among the walkers who will be on the track Friday night at Elizabethton High School will be 11-year-old Curtis Treadway, a member of the Harold McCormick team. Curtis, a fifth-grader, has raised over $100 alone to help his team meet the challenge. While he received some donations, most of his Relay for Life funds come from loose change collected from his daddy's pockets and some of his vacation money.
   Curtis said he decided to be a part of the Relay for Life event because he wanted to help people, noting that a cousin, Joe Morrell, lost his battle to cancer earlier this year. He also mentioned a nurse at Ivy Hall Nursing Home, whose son is a cancer victim.
   About his vacation money, Curtis said he would like to go to Hawaii, but when it was evident Hawaii wouldn't be his vacation spot this year, he decided to give some of his funds to Relay for Life.
   Curtis is the son of Keith and Trish Treadway of Elizabethton, and the grandson of Paula Bowers and Tom and Janice Treadway. He is the great-grandson of Pat "Red" and Ella Mae Bowers and Marie and Paul Senter.
   He is attending summer school, something he really enjoys. Curtis also enjoys playing with his friends and riding his horse, Lobo. He also likes to watch television and enjoys the computer.
   Curtis is just one of many who will be walking in the Relay for Life Friday night, which will be broadcast remote by WBEJ Radio.
   Survivor registration will begin at 5:45 p.m. with the opening ceremony at 7 p.m. The national anthem will be sung by Ms. Loretta Bowers Newton.
   Following the survivors lap, teams will be introduced and a recognition lap will be held.
   The evening will feature a variety of entertainment provided by the Pop Barbershop Quartet, New Liberty Church Youth and Adult Choir, the Chariot Quartet, Birch Springs bluegrass band, Gretchen (a Christian rock band), and Silverpoint (a contemporary Christian band).
   There will also be a puppet show, a wet T-shirt contest, Relay Olympics, karaoke fun, bingo, brain teaser games, and music.
   A sunrise service will be conducted at 6:30 a.m. Saturday by Rev. Bob Campbell, followed by "Taps" by Justin Stanton.
   The closing ceremony and award presentation will be held at 7 a.m.
   Co-chairmen of this year's Relay for Life are Lew Honeycutt and Sherry Freeman. Twenty-eight teams have committed to participate in this year's event. Teams committed are: Life Care of Elizabethton, Hampton Elementary, Blue Springs Christian Church, New Liberty Free Will Baptist Church, Big Springs Baptist Church, Women's Civic Club, Elizabethton High School Staff, Harold McCormick Elementary, West Side Elementary, Pine Ridge Care Center, Fairview Baptist Church, Oak Street Prayer Walkers, Elizabethton Electric System, Carter County Ford, Sams Family, EHS-HOSA, Citizens Bank, Carter County Courthouse, Cyclone Center, Carter County Bank, Pierce's Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, Snap-on Tools, Sycamore Shoals Hospital, Elizabethton Lumber, EHS Honor Society, Cable Family Restaurant, First United Methodist Church, and Calvary Baptist Church.
   The Carter County goal this year is $70,000.