Relay for Life of Surry County was officially kicked off Thursday evening with team members, team leaders and special guests direct from the Land of Oz.
This year’s theme “There’s No Place Like Hope,” is a riff on Dorthy’s line “There’s no place like home” from the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz.”
Surry Relay for Life chair Dara Parsons and her family got into the spirit of the kickoff event by dressing as characters from the film. Dara Parsons was the Scarecrow, husband Tim Parsons was the Wizard, and Brittany Parsons was Dorothy, complete with pigtails, ruby slippers and a basket filled with two Totos. The Parsons brought along a few non-human members of the family who were dressed as the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West.
The event marked the introduction of Sandra Meadows as Relay for Life’s staff partner for Surry County. She is Community Development Manager for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.
Though new to Surry, Meadows said she has been a staff partner for five years, serving previously in Caswell, Alamance, Rockingham and Stokes counties.
“I’m not afraid to ask for things,” said Meadows, “and I’m not afraid to meet people.”
Meadows said her first step in getting involved was going to the relay and experiencing it. She explained there are two hospitals in her home county, Rockingham, and the first year Morehead Hospital, whose team she was on, raised $1,000. The other hospital raised more than $15,000.
Meadows immediately asked if she could be the team captain the following year. She was, and her team raised $11,000. When an opportunity for a staff position opened up, Meadows said she jumped at it.
“I believe in what I do,” she said.
The Surry County Relay’s goal for 2018 is $55,000 after expenses. Meadows announced that $4,976 had already been raised. A goal has been set for 25 teams, and seven teams had already signed up before the kickoff.
Last year, 130 survivors participated, and this year’s goal is 150. Seventeen survivors have already signed up.
Meadows announced several local restaurants have scheduled “Give Back Nights” where a portion of sales will be donated to Relay, Sagebrush April 19 from 4 – 9 p.m. where 10% of sales will be donated, and Chili’s on April 24 with details to be announced later. A chicken take-out lunch with 13 Bones is scheduled for Aug. 24.
“Since December, I’ve wanted to get started,” said local chairperson Dara Parsons. “After about a month to chill I want to get started again. The more I’m in it, the stronger I feel about it.”
Following the information session and pep talk, there was cake.
“I want it stopped,” said Dara Parsons about cancer. “And it takes all of us working together to do it.”
Relay For Life of Surry County will be Saturday, Sept. 22 at Veteran’s Memorial Park from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight. Gates open at 4 p.m., with the opening ceremony at 6 p.m., survivor lap at 6:30 p.m., luminaria at 9 p.m. and closing ceremony at 11 p.m.
Committee and team meetings will be at First Presbyterian Church of Mount Airy the last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. Those dates are April 26, May 31, June 28, July 26 and Aug. 30.
Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. is bank night, and the survivor dinner at Faith Baptist Church will be Aug. 11, at 5:30 p.m.
Participants can register by going to: www.relayforlife.org/surrync or Facebook: Relay For Life of Surry County, Mount Airy NC.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.