The North Bryan County annual Relay for Life was held Friday night at Hendrix Park and with games, food and entertainment, there was entertainment for one and all.
The Relay kicked off with the Survivors’ Walk, which honored local cancer survivors, and a parade. Local entertainers then took the stage to perform for the crowd.
Master of Ceremonies Mark Crowe announced performers and events throughout the entire night. North Bryan County Relay for Life chairperson Jenny Miller was on had during the night to judge contests and to keep things running smoothly.
While the music, food and games where a large part of the event, the main goal of the Relay for Life was to raise money in the fight for cancer, to honor those who have survived the fight against cancer and remember those who lost the fight. This year, 15 teams competed against each other for a grand total of $48,676 raised at the end of the event with more donations yet to come in that should bring the total close to the $51,000 mark.
Local Relay for Life events are held throughout the country in more than 4800 communities. Churches, businesses and schools, within those communities, compete for titles such as "highest amount raised" and "Relay Spirit Award". The drive to raise money actually starts well before the night of the Relay for Life as teams hold various fundraisers ranging from carwashes to "pack the pew nights" at churches. This year’s team to raise the most in donations was The Pembroke Baptist Church with a total of over $10,000. The Pembroke Post came in second followed by Beulah Baptist Church with $4600.00. The "Relay Spirit Award" was presented to first year participate, The Pembroke Post.
One of the most important requirements of each team is participation in the Relay itself. A walking track is provided and each team has members that walk throughout the night thus having the track occupied for a full twelve hours. The track is lined with luminaries bearing the names of individuals that have lost the battle with cancer and at sunset the luminaries are lit in a ceremony. Brittney Creech, Chelsey Hill and Lyndsay Anderson sang as the luminaries were lit. They stay lit throughout the night inspiring walkers to continue and reminding those involved of the importance of the Relay for Life.
Entertainers included local performers, Lori Mesorio, Lauren Hodges, Vivian Myers, Victoria Mesorio, Abby Moore and singing group Driven. Later in the night, contests and events are held to keep participates encouraged and awake. This year a Kiss the Goat event was held and participates included Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook, Hunter Morrison, Michael Kicklighter, Josh Stanfield, Jeff Ramsey, Dana Brewer, Big Bev and Dennis Seger. Other contests included the Newlywed Game, won by Lebeth and Tim Stillwell, the Tire Rolling Contest won by Dennis Seger, the Hog Calling Contest won by Lexy Romberg, the Pickle Eating Contest won by Nathan Covington, The Relay Idol Contest won by Abby Moore, the Ping Pong Contest won by Lanier Primary, the Potato Picking Contest and the Relay Sponge Contest.
North Bryan County Chairperson Jenny Miller had this to say of the night’s events, "I would like to thank everyone that came out and participated in the Relay. I could not have done it without all of you. This year’s event really turned out well and I was very excited about the turn out. We had a lot of teams that really worked hard in this and one day we are going to find a cure for this disease. We can all say that we helped to find that cure. I am ready for the next year and hopefully it will be better than any year before."