The annual Morrow County Relay for Life will be taking place from 6 pm Friday, July 24 through 6 am Saturday, July 25 at the Gilead Friends Church. Please note the change of venue.

Picture this: You are lining up around the outside of a track with 200 others and the opening tap has begun. A celebration song is playing loudly over the cheers and the noisemakers, and you’re shouting words of encouragement as your grandfather, father, mother or spouse walks by, sporting a purple shirt in a sea of purple shirts

He is a survivor, a warrior flanked by countless others, each one there to tell cancer that this is its last century and that together, we will finish the fight.

The track is encircled by tents. There are games of Plinko, lawn tic-tac-toe, face painting and teams selling bracelets and baked goods. There is a large number of Silent Auction items that require a bid. A disc jockey plays and there is dancing around the track. To the side of the track there are team activities ready such as the Ms. Relay contest.

Teams with decorated tents are sporting matching T-shirts and laughing, dancing and celebrating together. Besides the campsites of teams, there are local vendors that have joined the fight. The Shop for a Cure is now another avenue to raise funds and awareness of the services offered by the American Cancer Society.

At nightfall, hundreds of white luminescent paper bags have taken your place around the track, each with a name. An entire community silenced, gathering together to honor those who had survived and those who had lost their fight. Another lap, but this one is much quieter. One can hear only the shuffle of feet and the thoughts in your head as you walk the track in darkness, lit only by the glow of the white bags.

A daughter kneels by a photo of her mother glued to the front of that white bag. A husband hugs his wife because she is here. Team based, family and community oriented. Relay for Life is an overnight event, a reminder of what it takes to live with cancer each day and night, an opportunity to celebrate the victories of cancer survivors, a chance to remember those lost to cancer, and a way for our communities to fight back against cancer by raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

Morrow County hosted its first Relay in 1999 and through these annual events, has raised more than $400,000 to support the American Cancer Society’s mission of cancer research, education, programs, and services for those affected by the disease.

Besides the team activities, many local vendors will be onsite for the Shops for a Cure. Items may be purchased onsite or orders may be placed with them. In addition, all the teams and vendors have donated items for the Silent Auction.

For more information, please visit or visit us on Facebook at Relay for Life of Morrow County.

Please join us.

Information from Connie Mattingly.

By Evelyn Long

for the Morrow County Sentinel