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It is time! No more waiting, no more delay, Relay 2012 is set to get under way. Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the 2012 Sampson County Relay for Life. The program is planned but may always have changes and the annual event will start at 6 p.m. with the inflatables providing bouncing fun that will last into the wee hours of the morning … and longer.
The 24-hour event is filled with fun, inspiration, some sadness, but more hope, as money is raised to fight the battle against cancer.
Relay co-chairwoman Sherry Massey said she is excited that all the committee’s hard work will come to fruition when the survivors and caregivers take that first lap around the track Friday night.
“We have a really great program scheduled this year. Sometimes things can change that we cannot help, but we are excited and are expecting to surpass our goal,” asserted Massey.
The 2012 Relay goal is $230,000 this year.
The Relay Torch will make its grand entrance into Dark Horse Stadium at 6:50 p.m., Friday. With the arrival of the torch the opening ceremony will start at 7 p.m.
April Hicks, co-chairwomen and Massey will offer the welcome with Miss Spivey’s Corner, Mary Catherine Tucker, singing “The National Anthem.”
The Rev. Dwight Sessoms will give the invocation just prior to the beginning of the cancer survivors victory walk.
“This is a very important feature each year for our relay,” expressed Hicks. “It is proof that what we are doing does make a difference and many people are able to survive the battle with cancer.”
The chairwomen expressed their appreciation to the Sampson County Boy Scouts who will be providing a salute to the survivors during the survivors walk.
The caregivers walk will follow the survivors walk as many of those who provide care for the cancer victims take a lap around the track.
“This is also a very important part of our Relay,” stressed Massey. “There are so many people, not only family members or medical personnel, who provide care for those with cancer. What they do is amazing and it is oftentimes from the heart,” added the co-chairwoman.
Miss Sampson County Relay For Life, Miss Casey Hobbs, will provide entertainment around 7:50 p.m. and country entertainer Tim Hair will perform.
Donnie Jackson and Halls United Methodist Church will provide anyone wishing to donate to Lock of Love the chance to have their hair cut and donated starting at 8 p.m. and will continue as long as there is someone who wants to donate. Jackson will also be available on Saturday morning for hair donations.
The Parade of Teams and Best Team Mascot Contest is next on the schedule, slated for 8:45 p.m. Hicks shared that this allows the teams participating “to strut and show their stuff” before the entire crowd that will be gathered. “It is fun and shows the commitment so many have to this great cause,” stated Hicks.
As the clock reaches 9 p.m. “Miss” Relay For Life Star and “Miss” Relay For Life Ambassador will be on stage with the Marksmen Quartet following at 9:30 p.m
“One of the most impressive events that occurs each year is our luminary ceremony,” expressed Massey. “When the lights are turned off and all the luminaries put forth such light with the words spelling HOPE beaming across the stadium, it is very memorable and also serves as a reminder of the many who have passed on due to cancer, as well as those who are still fighting the courageous battle today.”
Several other entertainment events will take place including a testimonial from Denise Wilks. That will be followed by The Remembrance Walk, which pays tribute to those lost to cancer.
The Relay committee has planned several contests that will be held throughout the 24-hour event. On Friday night at 10:45 p.m. the Best Decorated Superhero Contest will be held and at 11:15 p.m. the “Not So Talented & Talented” Talent Contest is planned. A scavenger hunt is planned for 11:30 p.m. and should provide late-night fun for all who participate.
At midnight, the Relay Olympic Games will be held and line dances will follow.
When the night’s activities conclude, all the gates will be closed into the stadium with the one at the concession stand the only access during the night. The committee explained that this was an effort to increase the safety of those who remain at the track walking all during the night.
As the Saturday morning activities kickoff, a Rooster Crowing Contest will take place bright and early at 6:50 a.m. Chris Butler will lead anyone interested in a sunrise service at 7 a.m.
The Best Bed Head Contest at 7:30 a.m. will be fun for all those who spent the night at Relay.
The 7th Annual Kids Walk will start at 9 a.m.
“The Kids Walk is a special event for the kids. It helps them to feel a part of the Relay and do their part to raise needed funds,” explained Hicks.
The event kicks off with the Kids Walk lap. From 9 to 11 a.m. kids games, activities and entertainment will be going on to coincide with the Relay.
A variety of activities will be going on with line dances, a giant twister game, performances from the Sampson County Clogger’s Quisan’s Dance Academy, Gotta Dance Fine Arts Center and the Miss All American queens.
There will even be a Best Cheesecake contest at 9:30 a.m.
Closing ceremonies will commence at 11:30 a.m. Massey will give closing remarks in regards to Fight Back. Award winners will be announced and Relay treasurer will announce the amount of money raised. The balloon release will end the event but not the fight against cancer.
“We are hoping since the economy is a bit better and maybe people are feeling a little more generous, we can have a great year as we fight to overcome cancer. Any amount will help us to do our part in this battle. It is the committee’s desire and hope that as many people as possible will come out and visit us at Relay. The support our teams receive at our event is fantastic. There is so much food, entertainment and inspiration available, it is almost impossible for anyone to leave Relay untouched. Please join us Friday and Saturday at Dark Horse Stadium,” remarked Massey.