Albany and Clinton County is a small, close-knit community, but also one that tends to have a higher cancer rate than most populations of its size. Almost everyone in the county is touched, either directly or indirectly, by the disease that causes several deaths locally each year.
Whether someone is a person battling cancer, has survived it’s effects, is a relative, friend, or you just know of someone who has it, almost no one in the area isn’t affected by the disease in some manner.
Each year, the American Cancer Society raises money to continue research in finding a cure for all the different related cancers out there. The signature fundraising events each year which helps stabilize that funding is the nationwide Relay For Life events held in communities throughout the United States.
For many years now, Clinton County has participated in Relay For Life, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and has always been, per ratio of size, one of the leading fundraising areas in the state.
Although the 2014 numbers from this past spring’s Relay For Life was down somewhat, to a little over $52,000 total, it was still a large amount considering the economic conditions and maybe something of a “late start” in getting the event organized.
That will not be the case this year, however, as local organizers who always work hard to see the event is a success, have already begun making plans for the 2015 main event–including all the fundraisers that will take place leading up to the program itself.
A Relay For Life meeting, with a half-dozen organizers and a couple of new team members were on hand to begin planning for the year’s programs with Adam Smedberg, RFL Specialist from the Central Kentucky office, Midsouth Division in Bowling Green. Until last year, the local Relay For Life team had been associated with the Somerset office.
Smedberg has, and will be, working to solidify all the existing businesses, corporate sponsors, schools and other organizations for next year, as well as trying to bring some new ones on board for 2015. One such new team will be from the Clinton County Homemakers, as a couple of their team representatives were among those on hand at the meeting held this past Monday evening, August 18 at the Early Childhood Center.
Smedberg noted the involvement of Keystone Foods, LLC and its contributions to the Relay program over the years and took some names of some possible other business or corporate entities that operate in Albany and Clinton County.
Smedberg told those on hand Monday that Relay For Life was giving local events options of the times for holding the actual Relay For Life event in each community, those being a six-hour program; a 12-hour program or an 18-24 hour-long program.
Committee members who have been involved with the local event for quite some time basically felt a “shorter” program, possibly beginning in the mid-afternoon and running through mid-evening on a Saturday, for example, 3-10 p.m., may be better fitted for the community, giving an opportunity for more participation.
The possibility of holding both an opening ceremony and later in the evening, the annual survivor walk ceremony, was also discussed.
Committee members also felt that once again holding the event at the high school and making it both an outside and inside event, with programs and activities at both the football field and gymnasium, would also be best suited for local participants.
The 2015 Relay For Life will be the 30th annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
The event, as always, will involve the schools and school children in activities that not only help them learn leadership and responsibility, but also about cancer and the importance of helping others.
The group also discussed ways in getting the more than 50 churches in the community involved next year and noted that even though some may not be able to have teams or actively participate, congregations still may be able to help by setting aside an offering to donate to the ACS.
Smedberg said the Relay For Life webpage would go online after September 5 and mentioned the possibility of attempting more online fundraising and doing “team challenges,” that has seemed to generate more donations is some areas.
“Most of last year’s sponsors are on board and we’re attempting to get new ones,” Smedberg said.
The first local event coming up for Relay For Life and also in recognition of cancer survivors will be on Friday, September 12 during the Clinton County High School vs. Jenkins football game.
A half-time program will be held to recognize cancer survivors who attend that night’s game. It will also be “pink-out” night for the fans and survivors will wear purple survivor shirts. The committee will be working with the school to allow free admission and free food to cancer survivors on that night and more details will be announced prior to September 12.
Anyone wanting more information about Relay For Life or how to form a team to raise money to help fight cancer locally, may contact Smedberg by calling toll-free, 1-800-227-2345, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the next Clinton County Relay For Life meeting on Monday, September 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Early Childhood Center.