LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Relay for Life will host its 21st annual Cancer Survivors Banquet Thursday for local survivors and their caregivers.
The free banquet is expected to attract motre than 300 guests to the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church. The dinner is themed after the board game, Candy Land and will feature colorful table settings and games, according to organizers. It begins at 6 p.m.
“The survivor banquet is meant to celebrate out survivors and caregivers,” said Jena Langham, the Scotland County Relay for Life community manager. “The event gives a sense of community.”
This year, survivors are asked to only bring one caregiver with them to the banquet as their guest, due to limited seating, Langham said.
As in year’s past, the dinner serves as the kickoff for the relay planned for Sept. 15. More than 500 people are expected to take part in the relay, which is in its 21st year.
Relay for Life raises money for cancer research, and brings awareness about what the American Cancer Society does for those battling cancer and their families.
Over the years, Scotland County’s Relay for Life event has raised millions to fund the cancer research supported by the American Cancer Society, with annual totals of $200,000 in recent years.
The Relay will have fundraising teams will take to the track after an opening ceremony where cancer survivors in attendance will perform an honorary lap, followed by caregivers. At that point, the teams will enter the track en masse to put their team spirit on parade. There is also a luminary ceremony that takes place after dark, so participants can remember those lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those affected by cancer.
There is also a luminary ceremony that takes place after dark, so participants can remember those lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those affected by cancer.
Organizers decided to cut the event from 24 hours to nine hours. The event will run from 3 p.m. to midnight at Scotland High School’s Pate Stadium.
According to Langham, a number of Relay groups across the country have also shortened ours to make the events more accessible to families and the community.
“We moved on to a nine hour event because we thought that would be more communal,” Langham said.
Scotland County Relay for Life has set a goal of $222,000 for 2017, up from the previous year’s goal of $215,000.
As of Monday afternoon, the effort has raised $74,612.73 with 30 teams registered. The team Campbell Kids for a Cure has raised the lion’s share so far with $51,829. There have also been notable amounts raised by team Circle for Hope with $5,174, Sneads Grove- Howard’s Buddies raising $5,075, and numerous other teams raising thousands of dollars.
For the past several years, the American Cancer Society has recognized the Scotland County event as the highest-grossing nationwide in its population category.
It is estimated that Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, has raised more than nearly $5 billion worldwide since 1985 for cancer research and awareness.
“We have so many volunteers and they are all so wonderful. We have 20 leadership volunteers who have helped organize and we have another 50 volunteers to help on the day of,” Langham said.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171