Reaching a milestone

By Keith Strange

July 16, 2014

Organizers promise that this year’s 20th Annual Surry County/Mount Airy Relay for Life will be not only a critical fund-raising effort, but a family-friendly community event as well.

“This is our 20th year,” gushed Melissa Hiatt of the American Cancer Society. “We hope this will be huge and we want to get the word out. We want all the past team captains, participants and committee members to come out and be a part of our 20th year celebration.”

This year’s Relay for Life is set for Sept. 26 on the Mount Airy High School football field. The event is set from noon until 11 p.m. Gates open at 8 a.m. for team setup.

The goal for this year’s Relay is to raise $88,000.

Money raised during the annual Relay goes toward cancer research, treatment, mission efforts and educational programs.

“It stays local, in a manner of speaking, in that it is used for educational programs in schools and local people benefit from research and treatment,” Hiatt said. “When families are in need, they can contact us and we connect them to organizations that provide money and resources to patients.”

Hiatt said more volunteers and participants are needed to make September’s event one for the record books.

“You can form a team, raise money, join the planning committee or volunteer,” she said. “We are looking for people in our community to get involved. We are encouraging everyone to come out. We want old and new participants. Even if you’ve never been a part or it’s been years since you’ve participated, come out and experience the event.”

Hiatt said this year’s event will feel more like a community festival than a cancer fund-raiser.

“We’re going to have music, entertainment, food, games and other activities,” she said. “One section of the field will be set aside as a kid’s corner where there will be lots of activities for the kids.”

There could also be a local dignitary or two, and while that’s no surprise to attendees of community events in the area, Hiatt said things could be a little different this time.

“I don’t want to give away too much, but we feel like people who come out may get to see some city and county officials do some pretty funny things,” she said.

Hiatt said she hopes the community comes out and supports this year’s Relay.

“Our whole purpose is to provide education, prevention and treatment in an effort to reduce the incidents of cancer in the county,” she said. “This community has been wonderful over the past 20 years in supporting that mission, and we want to see that continue this year.”

For more information or to sign up, visit

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.