Troup Relay for Life kicked off its 2014 season Monday night at the LaGrange Fire Headquarters. Last year’s teams and donors were recognized and two speakers were present to talk about their own experience with cancer. The goals for the 2014 season were also announced.
Brandon Cole announced himself as the new community manager for Relay for Life, replacing previous community manager, Amanda Revell. He has been with the organization for ten years as a volunteer, but this is his first year as a Relay for Life Specialist.
“I’ve kind of done every position on the committee, I started young,” Cole said. Cole manages six counties from Troup to Lamar.
Lisa Quarles gave an emotional and tear-filled speech about her role as a caregiver for her 16-month-old daughter before she lost her battle with cancer. Quarles said it was the “biggest honor” to serve as a caregiver.
“I hope we one day can find a cure for all cancer and all people,” she said
Survivor Bettye Tyner addressed the crowd about her experience with cancer not once, but twice. Tyner was diagnosed and cured with uterine cancer in 1977 and, again in 2009, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Tyner stressed the importance of annual physicals and recognizing the warning signs.
Co-chairs, Lynn Howard and Karen Smith along with Cole, handed out plaques and certificates to sponsors and teams for their contributions at each level of fundraising between $1,000 to $10,000. Sponsors who donated or raised $3,000 or more received plaques and included First Baptist Church, West Georgia Health, Emory Clark-Holder, Hope for a Day and Wild Animal Safari.
Relay for Life set its 2014 goal at $110,648 compared to last year’s $114,000. So far, 23 teams have signed up to meet this year’s goal of 50 teams. Cole said the focus of this year is to engage cancer survivors and hope to see at least 230 survivors participate.
“We always want to increase,” Cole said. “Were trying to make the whole county come out.”
Cole said that community involvement grows each year and Relay for Life currently has 22 members opposed to seven members this time last year.
The theme for 2014 is “Colors of Cancer” and was chosen to acknowledge all types of cancers. Cole also said they want to make this season’s event more colorful than previous years.
“This year we want the community to realize that we’re all here, that we’re all affected by cancer and we want you to know that we’re fighting at all ends.” Cole said.
Meetings will be held Feb. 6, March 6, April 3 and April 22. The Relay for Life of Troup County will be held April 25-26 at Whitesville Road Track.