By: Lorrie Ward | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2013
Roger Evans of RCB, Relay For Life of Rogers County chair, and Dawn Tatro of RSU Athletics, in front of the Rogers State University auditorium, which will come to life the night of the relay.
When one stands on the expanse of lawn, trees and sidewalk in front of the Rogers State University auditorium, it is hard to imagine this park-like setting bustling with any more life than just a few students taking a short cut between classes. But according to Roger Evans of RCB Bank, on the evening of April 12, this area will come alive and transform into a vibrant, carnival-type atmosphere. As the American Cancer Society’s main fundraiser, Relay For Life deals with a serious subject as it raises money for cancer patients and research, but this event is designed to provide a festive night of fun for the whole family.
Relay For Life of Rogers County begins at 7 p.m. on Friday evening, with the Opening Ceremony and Survivor Victory Lap. At 10 p.m., everyone will pause for moments of quiet reflection during the Luminaria Ceremony. The walking track will light up with glow stick lights in paper bags that have been purchased for $5 in memory of a cancer patient or in honor of a cancer survivor, and bagpipes will play inspirational hymns in the background. Then the games and team events will begin and last all night as people walk the illuminated track.
Teams host a whole array of fun and engaging events. For example, Roger relates that last year, Rogers State’s Kappa Sigma Chapter had an egg toss. Team members built a frame of two-by-fours and strung it with chicken wire. Then they stood on one side and let participants throw eggs at them through the chicken wire. “They went through 200 dozen eggs,” Roger says. “People had a blast.” Another team gave Rickshaw Rides for donations.
Roger expects these events to return this year, along with all kinds of fun games like three-legged races and a hula hoop walk. In keeping with the festive atmosphere, deejay Jason Casey will donate his time that night and provide a variety of music, including rock and roll, country, and movie soundtrack selections. There will be plenty of food all night, as teams will be selling different selections, and Roger reports that one team always hosts a Cowboy Breakfast that opens at 5 a.m. Saturday morning and runs until the event closes at 6 a.m. But even with all the laughter and good times that teams put together, each team always has one person on the track walking the Relay For Life, so the true purpose of the event is never forgotten.
Even though Rogers County has hosted Relay For Life for 18 years, Roger knows there are still many who don’t know about or understand this event. “One year a gentleman was driving by and stopped to see what was going on,” Roger says. “He had recently lost his wife to cancer and was shocked and touched that people were doing this. We want people to come out and see what this is all about, just as this gentleman did – it’s something you have to experience.”