It is Relay For Life season, as organizers of Newton County Relay and McDonald County Relay are gearing up for the annual events.

The Newton County Relay will start at 6 p.m. Friday at Bob Anderson Stadium on the Neosho High School campus and conclude at 6 a.m. Saturday.

McDonald County Relay will also start at 6 p.m. Friday and conclude at 6 a.m. Saturday at the McDonald County High School football stadium.

I encourage everyone to attend one – or both – of these events.
These Relays are a way to raise money to help fight cancer and find a cure for this disease.

I have worked on the Newton County Relay for more than 10 years, both covering the event, and also as their public relations chairperson. But I can tell you this, the ultimate goal to find a cure is something that I hope and pray will happen soon.

I have not personally heard those words, “you have cancer,” but I have had family and friends who have battled cancer.

The first encounter of the word cancer was when I was in the fifth grade. A girl by the name of Shelly Brown – who was a grade higher than me – passed away from cancer. Later on, all of the students at Triway School assembled outside to plant a tree in her memory.
The second person was my Uncle Gary.

Hw passed away from lung cancer in 1986. Gary, who was very tall, more than 6-foot-3, would hold my brother and I upside down by our legs. I guess that it is the little things in life that you remember. I also remember going to see Dad at the Bank of Neosho (now CBT) and Gary would be either at his desk downstairs by my grandfather or upstairs in the break room, coffee in one hand, talking about banking business.

In years past, when I walk around the track during Relay, I remember Gary, Shelly and others who have passed away from cancer, but I also honor those who have won the battle against cancer and are here today to help others with cancer.

Todd G. Higdon is a staff writer and writes a weekly column for the Neosho Daily News. He can be reached at Follow him on twitter at @toddghigdonNDN