By Nathan Baker
In flowing dresses and tiaras, armed with foam swords and fairy wands, they gathered in the Truman Clark Annex of the Carter County Health Department with one goal in mind: to bring cancer to a fairy-tale ending, where everyone lives happily ever after.
On Thursday night, organizers, cancer survivors and their friends and family held a kickoff party for this year’s Relay for Life campaign with the fantasy-centered theme, “Once Upon a Cure.”
Relay for Life, the major fundraising drive for the American Cancer Society, recruits teams through local chapters across the globe to solicit donations to contribute to cancer research and prevention.
“We have the kickoff every year to inform the community what we’re all about and to let them know how to be a part of the Relay for Life,” publicity chair Marcie Gordon said. “We want people to know that cancer never rests, and neither will we until we find a cure.”
Gordon, herself a survivor of breast cancer, said the 11 teams at Thursday’s event will likely grow to dozens before June, when the year’s fundraising campaign ends with an overnight walk around Elizabethton High School’s track.
Throughout the next five months, each team will hold its own events, adding to the money dedicated to the Cancer Society.
Last year, Carter County Relay for Life exceeded its $125,000 goal.
This year, Gordon said the organization upped the target to $135,000.
“We’re constantly challenging ourselves and raising the amount of fundraising,” she said. “It may be a challenge, but we’re confident we can beat the goal again this year.”