Relay Celebrates 25 Years of Hope

Lauderdale County Relay For Life announced 2009 sponsors, honorary chairs, and media partners at a Tuesday news conference. WTOK is a media sponsor of Relay for Life.

Bigger and better than ever is what organizers have in mind for the 2009 Lauderdale County Relay for Life.

Despite tough economic times nationally, they have set their biggest goal yet, to raise $350,000 to help fight cancer.

"Now that's a lofty goal, but we need lofty goals to make lofty things happen and that's what we do," said Becky Vance of the Lauderdale County Relay for Life Committee.

Organizers are aiming to have more than 140 teams participate. Two honorary chairmen were also announced. Both Michael Longmeier and longtime Clarkdale coach Rick Roberson are cancer survivors.

"I'm very pleased where I'm able to tell my story," said Longmeier. "Where my cancer was self-inflicted and I want to get the word out that behavior changes are important, and if you're smoking, then quit.'

"We know that the catch in research has paid off. The number of people who recover has gone up dramatically within the last ten years and so it's very effective," said Roberson. "It's a lot of fun. It's a way that the community can really rally together.

Each year as part of Relay for Life, the community rallies to raise money for education, advocacy, research and service programs involving cancer.

A program that is funded with money from the local Relay for Life is the "Look Good, Feel Better" program. It's offered by the local branch of the American Cancer Society. A bag filled with beauty products worth between $300 and $400 is offered to all patients who are diagnosed with cancer.

Lauderdale County's Relay for Life will be May 1 on the soccer fields at Northeast Park.

Organizers say they feel optimistic about reaching the $350,000 goal.

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