Relay raises support before big event April 27

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chilton County’s Relay For Life is only one week away, but preliminary events and fundraisers are still happening for last-minute donations and support.

For the first year ever, the American Cancer Society is offering businesses and communities in Chilton County an opportunity to show their support in the fight against cancer by “painting the town purple” Monday, April 23 through Saturday, April 28.

People are encouraged to decorate their mailboxes or businesses with purple bows and wear purple April 26 to honor survivors and remember loved ones lost to cancer.

Purple bows are available for $10 each at MorLyn’s in Clanton. All proceeds will benefit Relay For Life of Chilton County.

Aimee Eiland, Relay chairwoman for Chilton County, said participation can be “anything to get in the spirit of Relay.”

A survivor breakfast sponsored by Tim Little will be held Thursday, April 26, at 7 a.m. at Clanton First United Methodist Church fellowship hall.

“We invite all survivors to come and start their day with a breath of celebration, delicious breakfast catered by Country Lane Too and hear a very special Hero of Hope share their story of survival,” Eiland said. “There is absolutely no charge for our survivors to attend this special event thanks to sponsorship. Survivors who have not already preregistered for Relay online can do so at this event.”

Bank Day will also be April 26 from 1-5 p.m. at West End Baptist Church in Clanton.

Relay For Life will start Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m. and will end Saturday, April 28 at 6 a.m. at the youth league football field at Clanton City Park. This year’s honorary event chair is 2-year-old Liliana Thompson, who is battling leukemia.

Relay is a 12-hour event consisting of a survivor ceremony, luminaria ceremony and a “Fight Back” ceremony.

The survivors’ walk will begin at 6 p.m. After checking in at the survivor tent, survivors will take the first lap.

“They do the first lap to celebrate the victories they’ve achieved over cancer and to open up the event,” Eiland said. “After they take their lap, they can return to the tent area for a reception.”

A caregivers’ lap will follow to recognize their love and support of family, friends or neighbors who have battled cancer. A separate kids’ lap is scheduled too.

The luminaria ceremony will start at 9:15 p.m. to recognize anyone who has been touched by cancer.

After all the candles inside the bags are lit, people are invited to walk a silent lap together.

“It’s a good time for reflection, for those that have lost people or even to comfort some in attendance who have faced similar losses,” Eiland said. “It also helps survivors gain hope.”

Each luminaria is $5 and will bear a name of someone to be honored or remembered.

The “Fight Back” ceremony will be at 10 p.m.

“It is where we ask all those in attendance to make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up a fight against cancer,” Eiland said. “It’s a way that we ask them to take steps to fight back against a disease that takes too much.”

Eiland said teams can start setting up their tent sites at the park April 27 at noon.

“Relay For Life is a family friendly environment for our entire community and I hope everyone will come out and experience this special event,” Eiland said. “With your help, we aren’t just fighting one type of cancer – we’re fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone’s life.”

For more information, call Aimee Eiland at (205) 280-2910, email or visit Chilton County Relay For Life’s Facebook page.