Relay For Life asking for community help

Money is tight everywhere, including at the American Cancer Society. As a result, 16 Relay For Life events have been eliminated across eastern Kentucky. Officials with Knox County’s Relay For Life are hopeful this year’s event will be the biggest and best the area has seen, ensuring the event is here to stay.

Sherry Payne with the American Cancer Society was at the February 27 Health Coalition meeting to share information about the upcoming event, including changes being made to increase local attendance and participation.

“We need everybody to help. We want to make this the best Relay we’ve ever had,” said Payne.

This year, Relay For Life is transitioning to a block party that will be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 27 on Court Square. All the normal Relay events, including the Survivor Lap and Luminaria, will remain the same. The theme is Colors of Hope and each team is encouraged to pick a color correlating to a cancer awareness ribbon to decorate their booth or tent with.

What can you do to get involved? First and foremost, you can encourage your business, school, church, family or any other group to register as a team. In order to receive a t-shirt, the deadline to register your team and team members is March 15. Teams can register at relayforlife.org/knoxky.

“I really think that this is a great opportunity to have your organization that you represent present right in town, participating in something that touches everybody’s lives, which is cancer,” said Tammy Sutton, chairman of the Health Coalition.

You can also make a donation. Relay will be holding a Facebook auction, cake walk and various other events leading up to the block party. Finally, purchase a luminaria in remembrance or honor of someone who continues to fight or has fought cancer.

Other events leading up to the main Relay event include the Jail and Bail fundraiser and a yard sale. Jail and Bail will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 15 on Court Square and the yard sale will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 7 at the North Main Commercial Bank parking lot.

For more information about Relay For Life, visit relayforlife.org/knoxky. For more information about the block party, making a donation and getting involved locally in any capacity, contact Sherry Payne at sherry.payne@cancer.org.

In other Coalition news, Morgan Kirk, a community advocate with WellCare Health Plans, reports that Healthy Stops, a public transportation program, is in full gear. In January, Kirk reports 30 people used the program compared to other counties where 10 or fewer utilized it. So far, people are predominately using the program to go to the grocery store and for dialysis treatment.

The next Health Coalition meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on March 27 at the Knox County Health Department.