By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2011
Board members for this year’s Relay For Life (L to R): (Back row against wall): Event Chair Roger Evans with guitar to be personalized by Garth Brooks, Cathy Cooksey, Marilynn Gibson, Paula Detherow, Cindy Kennedy, Christine Day, (Front row) Amie Woodward, Event Chair Cheryl West, Pam Blackburn, Mary Kelly and Sonja Redding.
Anyone who has battled cancer personally or who has seen a loved one fight cancer knows how challenging – and sometimes devastating – this disease can be from the moment it is first diagnosed. For this reason, ongoing research is absolutely vital, not only to finding a cure for cancer, but to increasing quality of life during the fight. The American Cancer Society has long been dedicated to this search and has established its signature event, Relay For Life, in communities across the country.
Rogers County Relay For Life will be held Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at the Rogers State University track. The Event Chairs are Roger Evans of RCB Bank and Cheryl West of Claremore Regional Hospital. “The Rogers County Relay For Life has been very successful the last few years, and we hope to raise over $75,000 this year,” says Cathy Cooksey, Silent Auction Chair. “Our goal is to raise more money for cancer than Rogers County has ever raised before, and we would love for everyone to celebrate that with us.”
Relay For Life is made up of corporate sponsored teams and registered teams of 8 to 15 participants who combine forces to raise a certain amount of money for the event through donations and team fundraisers like bake sales, dinners, and garage sales. The Kickin’ Up the Cure for Cancer Team will hold their annual garage sale on April 2 at the Okie Steakhouse on Highway 88.
At the Relay For Life event, each team will have decorated their own themed campsites, and everyone from the community can enjoy bake sales, coffee and cappuccino, music, and entertainment all night long as the event proceeds. Teams will also participate in the Road to Recovery Car Show & Race, where each team is asked to enter a two-passenger, cardboard car and compete for donations and a Best In Show award. Also, each team will offer a nominee for the Relay Queen Contest, who will compete to collect donations throughout the evening – but the nominee must be male! Finally, team members will also participate in Quarters for a Cure, in which the track is lined with quarters and participants compete to collect quarters during the relay.
There is no shortage of ways to contribute to this event. It will have huge silent and live auctions, with many items available including a guitar autographed by Garth Brooks, a Christmas lights helicopter ride, and many other items. Donations for both auctions are still being accepted. Sun and Moon cards will be offered for a dollar, on which the purchaser can write “In Honor Of” or “In Memory Of” a loved one who has battled cancer. These cards will be posted at locations around town, including Wal-Mart and the Rogers County Courthouse. Luminaries will also be available to honor loved ones for a donation of $5. These consist of a white paper bag, decorated and placed around the track, where they will be lit up for the event.
Cathy Cooksey is not only the Silent Auction Chair of Rogers County Relay For Life, but she is a long-time participant and team captain as well. Along with her two daughters, who are in their early twenties, Cathy has been in the Relay For Life for many years through all conditions and weather. “We have frozen at times, and we have walked through drizzles and downpours,” Cathy says. “Cancer is not a fair weather disease, and we know that the weather doesn’t change anything for those battling cancer. They must survive every day, and so we walk to honor them.”