LAURINBURG – Scotland County’s heralded Relay for Life campaign kicks off next Thursday with a 6 p.m. banquet at the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church to celebrate those who have beaten the dreaded disease, remember loved ones who have died of cancer and provide a means of fighting back.
The banquet is just the first in a series of community events all month that culminate in a 24-hour team relay on Sept. 26-27.
Scotland County’s campaign last year raised almost $50,000, making it one of the leading fund-raisers nationwide for its population category. Organizers say they hope to exceed that amount this year.
“We participate because we’ve been affected by cancer in some way, and because a Relay For Life event gives us the power to fight back,’’ Joann Locklear, one of Scotland County’s top fund-raisers last year, said in a statement posted on the Scotland County Relay for Life website.
“I participate because I know that by raising funds and walking in the Relay For Life event, I will help save lives from cancer. I want to make some noise … it’s overwhelming to think that millions of people will be diagnosed with cancer this year,’’ Locklear said. “It might be … you or me.’’
Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases, according to the American Cancer Society, which sponsors Relay for Life events nationwide in September. Although there are many kinds of cancer, all cancers start because abnormal cells grow out of control, causing serious illness and death.
Thursday night’s banquet, which will culminate in an address by a cancer survivor, will be followed up on Sept. 15 with a team captains’ meeting at 6 p.m. at the W.R. Dulin Center at Scotland Memorial Hospital. Another team meeting is set for Sept. 24, from 5-8 p.m. at the PNC Bank on Main Street, where team T-shirts and admission bracelets will be distributed.
On Sept. 26, the campaign culminates with the 6 p.m. opening ceremony for the all-night relay at Scotland County High School, followed by a luminary tribute at 9 p.m. Closing ceremonies are set for 2 p.m. on Sept. 27.
For information on organizing a relay team or to sign up visit the website for Scotland County Relay for Life by following links at relayforlife.org, or type http://bit.ly/VQosWq into your internet browser.