It seems like only yesterday that the first ever Copiah County Chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life was being planned–11 years ago! That first event held at the Copiah County Courthouse on a steamy July Friday night raised a modest $29,000 to fight cancer, a figure that would grow to almost $100,000 in subsequent years. And, it proved that Copiah Countians can come together for a single cause that will aid many in need.
This year’s event is “almost like starting over from scratch”, according to Relay coordinators. The venue is now at the County Fairgrounds in Gallman. Some of the same teams that began in 1997 raising money to help find a cure for cancer are still participating. And, some of the same organizers, committee members, volunteers and community leaders are still proudly assisting. More notably, some of the cancer survivors from the very first Survivor Walk are still planning to make the first lap again this year.
Since that first event 11 years ago many local folks–some in the prime of their lives–have fallen victim to a form of cancer. Some have fought the good fight and passed on when their bodies just couldn’t go anymore. Others have fought the good fight and are still fighting. Still, others have beaten cancer and are living normal lives, again. Their family members, friends, co-workers, fellow church members and acquaintances have stood right along with the victims, sometimes feeling powerless to do anything, turning simply to the power of prayer to help heal. Many times thosse prayers have proven to be the turning point in the victim’s battles.
Events like the Relay for Life, which is actually a year-round fundraiser in Copiah and many other counties, help victims and families cope with and fight the disease with better resources than ever before. Every dollar raised is a step closer to finding a cure. Copiah County’s Relay has even won awards for money raised per capita in years past–further proof that we are motivated to help find a cure.
So, even though the Relay has been running a little under the radar this year, the need for a cure is still there, and we can all help. We encourage you to support the Relay and help fight cancer in whatever way you can–with fundraising, with volunteerism, with your talents and with your compassion and certainly your prayers. One day a cure will be found, and every little bit helps.
We also want to congratulate and thank this year’s Relay organizers, committee members, volunteers, sponsors, team members and other participants for keeping Copiah’s Relay going. Your efforts are beyond the call of duty and are most noble.
Joe Buck Coates