The American Cancer Society sponsors the annual Relay for Life in Hempstead County and the event has been growing every year for over a decade.
This year is no exception, with more teams and sponsors than last year, according to Racheal Cuellar, Committee Chairman for the Relay for Life.
“We have more sign-ups for teams and more sponsors that we did last year, and we raised over $120,000 last year,” Cuellar said. “More and more people are hearing about the Relay and wanting to participate in it. I am still signing up teams as we speak.”
The Relay for Life raises funds for the American Cancer Society, which, in turn, helps cancer patients with gas for their car, wigs, and vouchers.
Stina Brown has been the longtime coordinator for the Texas, Southwest Arkansas area for the American Cancer Society. She works Relays in Howard, Hempstead, Lafayette, Miller, Bowie, and Sevier Counties, as well as others in Southwest Arkansas.
“Forty-five sponsors and 42 teams and counting is what we have this year,” Cuellar said. “We have lots of events planned for this year's Relay, too. We have several teams who are targeting the children who will be there, with games and activities that they will enjoy.”
The Relay returns to the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope campus this year, April 26-27, with the first lap set for 6 p.m.
Entertainment will be abundant throughout the night with a live DJ, as well as seasoned performers such as Rudy Preston, and the Night Hawk Band. There will also be a live auction taking place the night of the Relay, beginning at 7 p.m. Luminarias will also be lit at approximately 9 p.m. and names of survivors and honorees will be announced. Luminarias are available for purchase to remember someone who has passed, and to honor those who have survived cancer.
A survivor's reception will be held at 5 p.m. in the Student Center at UACCH. All survivors of cancer are welcome to attend. Refreshments, fellowship, door prizes, and commemorative shirts will be awaiting attendees. Each survivor receives a goodie bag.
The first lap of the event is reserved for survivors of cancer. The inaugural lap is led with a passing of the colors by local Boy Scouts, and is traditionally greeted with claps and shouts of encouragement from spectators, and the public is invited to attend throughout the Relay.