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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - May 2010
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Preliminary total shows over $293K raised for cancer society

Polk County Enterprise

Staff Reporter

Polk County Relay For Life raised more than $293,000 with efforts by local teams throughout the year that culminated with an overnight celebration at Pedigo Park Friday night, according to event chairman Tammi Ogletree. Drizzle did not deter area residents from joining in the “Peace, Love, Cure” theme supporting the American Cancer Society cause. More than 1,000 volunteers were present to attend to traffic and parking, entertainment and food and fun included in the action of the evening. The Livingston Elementary Honors Choir welcomed early crowds before the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. Welcoming remarks by local dignitaries, event organizers and a national American Cancer Relay official precluded the ribbon cutting by cancer survivors, 6-year-old Jason Jewell and Leesa Baskin. The diverse group of participants in the survivor lap followed by the caregiver and survivor and team laps around the track at Pedigo Park showed that cancer is a disease that does not discriminate and touches everyone. A large variety of food and activities was available from more than 50 Relay teams who set up colorful booths, dressed in wild 70s fashion and proudly displayed peace and love throughout the evening. Elvis headlined the entertainment for the evening. Rayborn Hance and his son Marshall portrayed a young and older Elvis. They were greeted with swoons, cheers and dancing from the audience as the crowd actively participated during the hour-long show. Local resident Keith Hampton also dressed as Elvis and accompanied Rayborn and Marshall during the entertainment. Heavenly Hush opened the always emotional luminaria surrounding the track. The number of residents and visitors for the activity were estimated well above 3,000 for the ceremony that celebrates survivors, families and those lost to cancer. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribal dancers, always a welcome group to any event, showcased the debut of one of its youngest members during their performance. The young 3 year old thirdgeneration dancer performed the ring dance with rings his father used as a child. He captured the hearts of the audience with his skill and the importance of tradition within the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Chasing Daylight, a contemporary group from First Baptist Church kept the evening entertainment rocking as team booths continued selling raffles, food and games throughout the evening. Midnight madness began in the early a.m. hours for teams to compete in games and as an incentive for volunteers to get rejuvenated and stay awake. Relay Idol, the Ellen Show and popular team games with friendly competition between teams kept the Relay volunteers alert until 6 a.m. when breakfast was provided by the Go Texan Committee. Many sleepy volunteers were recouping from all the activity Saturday and waking up to learn the total amount raised from their efforts. The outcome to benefit the American Cancer Society demonstrates the awareness and compassion of Polk County residents. Fundraising efforts continue throughout May to offer more opportunity for Polk County Relay to achieve its $300,00 goal. A pictorial of Relay For Life activities will be presented in the Thursday edition of the Polk County Enterprise.


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