Relay for Life

Cabot rallies residents for spring fund-raising event

BY SARA GREENE
Photos by David Scolli

___Cabot kicked off its Relay for Life rally with a luminary service on the steps of city hall Monday night.
___Amelia Hammaker attended with her 7-year-old daughter Brianna. Brianna is a cancer survivor. Brianna was born with a brain tumor and has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy in an effort to keep the tumor from growing.
___ "The longest she's ever been without the tumor growing is two years," said Amelia. The Hammakers have a 3-year old daughter, Tabitha. Amelia is a physical therapist at Veterans Administration Hospital in Little Rock and her husband teaches eighth grade at Henderson Middle School in Little Rock. Brianna attends school at Magness Creek Elementary. She's missed a little school and there were a few questions from classmates last year when she lost her hair.
___ Then Brianna's classmates donned bandannas as a sign of solidarity with her. "We still hope and pray that there will be a cure found, if not for her then for someone else," Amelia said.
___ "The luminary service offers family and friends the opportunity to honor those who have died from cancer and offers hope for those who are currently battling the disease," said Sherry Shinn, development representative for the American Cancer Society.
___ Pink and purple ribbons were sold for one dollar each, pink honoring cancer victims and purple honoring cancer survivors. After purchasing the ribbons, participants were invited to write the names of a survivor or loved one on the ribbons and tie them to the city hall steps railing during the luminary service where the ribbons will remain until the Cabot Relay for Life in May.
___ The goal of Cabot's Relay for Life this year is to raise $50,000. Last year they raised a little more than $40,000. According to the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is their signature fund-raising activity. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path.
___ Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length. Teams solicit donations and have fund-raising events such as garage sales and car washes.
___ "We've attended the Cabot Relay for Life for the past three years and last year Brianna sang ŚLittle Kids Have Big Dreams Too.' She always thanks the people as they finish walking or running," Amelia said. Relay for Life began in May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon and avid runner, took the first step of his 24-hour walk/run around a track in Tacoma, Wash. He clocked 83 miles, raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society.
___ The following year, 220 supporters on 19 teams joined Dr. Klatt in this overnight event, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life was born. Over the last 19 years, Relay for Life has spread to 4,200 communities in the United States and eight foreign countries.
___ What began as one man's statement in the fight against cancer has led to the development of a worldwide event to help banish cancer. Katherine Tripp teaches world history at Cabot High School. She is a two-year survivor of lymphoma.
___ "I started participating in the Relay for Life two years ago, just after my chemotherapy, before I started radiation treatment," Tripp said. Cancer-free now, Tripp also participates in the Race for The Cure, the annual race held in Little Rock.
___ The American Cancer Society in Arkansas funds $1.7 million in research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. The society also provides programs for patients and families, transportation grants, a camp for children with cancer, college scholarships for childhood cancer survivors, wigs and other services.
___ Most of this work is funded through Relay for Life events. The Cabot Relay for Life will take place May 13 at Cabot High School.

One of Cabot's new city council members celebrated the Martin Luther King/Robert E. Lee day with Confederate flags in front of his business and a local resident dressed in a Confederate uniform.
___ Many don't know that Arkansas is one of the states that celebrates the two birthdays together. King's birthday observance is a state and federal holiday, Lee's birthday is a state holiday.
___ "I have nothing against Mr. King," said E.J. Hart, who dressed in his rebel uniform. "I'm celebrating Robert E. Lee. We have as much right as they do‹the blacks or whoever.

 

Participants at Cabot City Hall's Relay for Life rally for cancer survivors and victims hold candles in remembrance during the luminary portion of the event. Purple and pink ribbons were sold to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Friends and relatives wrote names of cancer survivors on the purple ribbons and victims of the disease on pink ribbons. The ribbons were tied to the railings on the steps of city hall where they will remain until the Relay for Life event is held in May.