Residents encouraged to 'Show Us Your HOPE'

Wanda English Burnett

Hope takes on a whole new meaning as Ripley County residents are getting ready for the 14th annual Relay for Life event set for Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21.

If you can’t get to the Batesville High School Track to participate in the actual event, or can’t give money, you can still offer hope. B.J. Myers, event chair, is asking everyone to join together in unity to “Show Us Your Hope” by displaying purple ribbons around trees and posts. The color purple is the signature color for power. And, there is power in people who stand together to fight to find a cure for cancer.

Purple lights, and the letters H-O-P-E displayed in windows or yards, any visual you can create will show how Relay for Life brings hope to our community, according to Myers. She encourages everyone to bring out the purple this week.

The American Cancer Society is celebrating their silver anniversary - 25 years- of bringing hope to communities throughout the nation through Relay For Life, its signature event.

Monies from these events have made a significant impact on the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving work as they research to find a cure that will end cancer.

Last year Ripley County residents pulled together to raise a whopping $150,472.68 as of the event date. More money was collected following the 24-hour event bringing the total to $151,000. The goal this year, according to Myers is $156,000.

This year the opening ceremony will take place at 8:00 a.m. Saturday to kick off the 24-hour event. This is the second year for the Little Mr. and Miss Relay Pageant, which will take place at 10 a.m. An impressive Luminaria Ceremony will be held at 9 p.m. that evening. The closing ceremony will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.

New this year is the Courage Award. This will be presented to a survivor who has made a significant impact in the lives of others by turning the negative of cancer into a positive and reaching out to fellow cancer patients. “I’m really excited about this award,” Myers noted. Another new award will be the Compassion Award, which will be presented to a caregiver at the beginning of the Luminaria Service.

Teams come in with the determination they are not leaving for 24 hours, showing cancer it can be beat. They take to the track, walking or running, even in wheelchairs. Throughout the day and night there are many activities such as the rock wall, art contest, corn hole tournament, car bashing, scavenger hunt, and Guitar Hero fun, to name a few. This year 40 teams are expected to participate.
Myers, who has been involved with the Ripley County Relay for Life for six years, says when her mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer just a few weeks before the 2004 Relay, it became “very personal for me.” She said at a time that she felt powerless, the Relay empowered her. “I realized that there was a lot that I could do to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”
This year’s theme is Celebrating 25 Years of Hope. That’s what this group will be doing this weekend. For more information call 812-216-6123.