PINEVILLE — This year, the McDonald County Relay For Life event will be held in a different location.
"We will be at the Pineville Square due to construction scheduled for the McDonald County High School track," said Patty Johnson, co-chair of the McDonald County Relay For Life.
The event will be held from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
"Our goal this year is $36,500," she said. "So far, we've raised a little more than $23,000 toward our goal, so we're at about 60 percent of our goal. We currently have 10 teams and 163 participants."
This year, the organizers opted to use the theme Celebrating Hope.
"May 22 was the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society, so the Relay For Life of McDonald County is celebrating survivors for another 100 years and the hope that cancer will be eliminated in the future," she said.
Opening ceremony will be at 6 p.m. They will have the survivor lap right after the opening ceremony, followed by caregiver recognition — which is something new this year. The luminary ceremony is scheduled for 10 p.m. Entertainment will include local dance groups as well as musical entertainment from area residents.
"The keynote speaker during the opening ceremony is Debbie Wishon," said Johnson. "She was diagnosed with Lymphangiosarcoma, a very rare and aggressive type of cancer. This type affects 1 in 10,000 in their arms and 1 in 3,000 in their legs. Her first survivor Relay was one week after being released from the hospital after losing her leg. This is her second year as a team captain."
During the event, there will be a silent auction — from 6-9 p.m. — with items such as gift certificates from local merchants, gift baskets of all kinds such as scrapbooking, needlecraft, home décor, jewelry, tools; Springfield Cardinals merchandise, a Kansas City Chiefs autographed picture, Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals tickets and more.
Something new this year is a tribute.
"This year, we will have a tribute board at the survivor tent," said Johnson. "People can bring pictures of loved ones lost to cancer (in memory) or those who have fought or are fighting cancer (in honor) and display them on our boards. We ask them to bring a copy of the picture to the survivor tent, but be sure it is labeled with their name and address on the back."
The money raised during this Relay season goes toward cancer research and for services for cancer patients.
"People can go to www.relayforlife.org/McDonaldCoMo for more information on our event or to donate," she said. "We appreciate the support and generosity everyone in the community has shown so far and hope to see many people on the square helping us raise money to find a cure."
Page 2 of 2 - Johnson encourages everyone to attend the Relay.
"It's important for the public to come out and help in the fight against cancer," she said. "Almost everyone has been affected by cancer in some way — either family or friends. This is a way to get involved, either in a small or large way. Every little bit raised helps us get to the point where some day cancer will be a thing of the past."