By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2007
Renetta Harrison and Cathy Cooksey look forward to the Relay For Life of Rogers County, which will take place June 22 and 23 at Andy Payne Track.
Relay For Life is the main fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Communities from across the country will be celebrating life by participating in approximately 4,800 events in a 12-hour period to support the ACS in the fight against cancer.
This year’s teams from Rogers County will be camping out at Claremore High School’s Andy Payne Track, located at 1910 N. Florence Ave. The event will begin on Friday, June 22, with a survivor dinner at 5:30 p.m. Each survivor will receive dinner, a t-shirt and a goodie bag. Prior to the opening ceremony, a victory lap will be taken by cancer survivors at 6 p.m., while participants applaud them for their hope, courage and appreciation of life. The opening ceremony will take place at the track at 7 p.m. Relay For Life will end after the closing ceremony at 7 a.m. on Saturday, June 23. Claremore Mayor Brant Shallenbarger has declared the day as “Relay For Life Day.”
As the publicity chairman for the Rogers County Relay For Life Committee, Cathy Cooksey says, “The goal of Relay For Life is to bring communities together to raise money to help prevent cancer, save lives and diminish suffering from the disease.” While participants are raising much-needed funds, they will also be raising awareness for cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and patient support. “Our goal is to eliminate cancer,” added Renetta Harrison, a relay team captain.
The public is invited to support the event by attending any portion of the Relay For Life event. Participants and community visitors will enjoy a silent auction, featuring themed baskets that have been donated by teams and businesses throughout Rogers County. A few basket themes include fishing, hair care, jewelry and the Fourth of July.
When the lights go down at 10 p.m., hundreds of luminarias placed around the track will be lit under the stars to celebrate life with cancer survivors, honor those currently fighting cancer and remember those we have lost to cancer. Luminarias may be sponsored for $5 by calling Val Spradlin at (918) 342-3144 or through any team captain.
Relay For Life teams will be holding on-site fundraisers at their individual campsites. The men-only Loveliest Legs Contest will be held at the event, as well as dancing contests and other competitions for teams. All challenges will be begin at midnight. Cooksey says, “You won’t want to miss the Road to Recovery team race. Teams climb into cardboard, two-person racecars and race around the track while answering questions about cancer facts.” The male Relay Queen will also be crowned during the celebration.
Master of Ceremonies Bobby Hill will perform popular hits by Frank Sinatra, Roy Orbison, Elvis and other well-known performers from many popular eras. A variety of food will be for sale throughout the night. Cappuccino Corner will sell coffee and donate a portion of their proceeds to Relay For Life.
Fundraisers were held May 19 for this year’s Relay For Life. Rogers County hosted a co-ed Relay For Life softball tournament and a garage sale to generate money for the event. Contributions to the Rogers County Relay For Life may be made any time before or during the June 22 and 23 event. Rogers County residents are invited and encouraged to support the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life in the fight to eliminate cancer.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.