Striding toward a cure

Cancer under siege with area Relay for Life events
May. 08, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

The teams are finalized, but anyone wanting to support friends or help fund the fight against cancer locally is invited to attend Friday’s Relay for Life of Lee County.

The 19th annual event begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Sanford Lions Club Fairgrounds. Participants will start walking or running the track at 7 p.m., with some planning to continue for 12 hours, until 7 a.m. Saturday, to show solidarity with or honor the memory of cancer patients.

For spectators, there will also be food, games, live music and more, as well as the chance to donate and help people in Sanford who are battling cancer.

“I just want people to know all the money raised in Lee County stays in Lee County,” said Connie Gartin, who is in charge of fundraising for the event. “This is not central banking or going to California. It all stays here.”

Last year, Relay for Life in Lee County raised $162,000, and Gartin said the haul could be even bigger this year. The organization raises money all year long, she said, not just at the annual relay. And this year, the main Lee County group and the 46 local teams participating have already taken in $90,000.

“To have that much before the actual event is huge because for most teams, the event itself is the main fundraiser,” Gartin said. “So we’re in good shape.”

The city of Sanford also has come through with support; Mayor Chet Mann signed a proclamation declaring the city would participate in “Paint the Town Purple,” an awareness campaign advocated by the American Cancer Society.

The proclamation officially encourages people and businesses to donate to Relay for Life and also wear or display purple colors until Saturday.

Mann also noted that “money raised during Relay for Life of Lee County supports the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives and creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays ... through R&D of cancer prevention, treatment and cures, promoting early detection and offering support during and after a cancer diagnosis.”

Chatham County residents can do their part, too, next week during the 14th annual Pittsboro Relay For Life, which is set for Friday, May 16, at the Northwood High School athletic complex.

The evening begins with a Kids Walk for children under 12 starting at 4:30 p.m.; registration is $5. The walk includes activities like face painting, an inflatable slide and obstacle course, photo ops with mascots and more. There will be Zumba lessons and dancing, and participants will do a lap around the field in honor of cancer survivors.

The King and Queen, the young people who have raised the most money, will be crowned at the start of the relay, which will run from 6 p.m. until a closing ceremony at sunrise on Saturday, May 17. Activities will include an honor guard, vocal performances of patriotic songs, testimonials and a victory lap by cancer survivors, appearances by local bands and singers, a NASCAR simulator, food, a luminary ceremony, games and more.

To learn more, contact Amber Poinsett, event chair, at, or Phil Sutphin at