Working and walking toward a cure

Published 12:36 pm Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

They turned out in mass — most healthy and glowing, a few still displaying the tell-tale signs of the results of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
The occasion was Friday night’s Survivors’ Lap, the kickoff to this year’s American Cancer Society/Beaufort County Relay for Life festivities at Washington High School.
That was just the beginning. A luminary service was held later that evening, along with a womanless beauty contest. And walkers of all ages continued to make laps throughout the night; the object was to have someone walking at all times.
It’s all done to raise money for the fight against cancer, according to event chairperson Lisa Alligood.
The county-wide event began about 15 years ago, according to Alligood. Volunteers were still counting donations late Saturday morning, but the goal is to raise $179,000 throughout Beaufort County.
But that all doesn’t happen this weekend, Alligood pointed out.
“Our kickoff was in November, and the teams have been raising money since then,” she said. “They’ve had bake sales, spaghetti dinners, car washes, yard sales and they’ve sold jewelry.”
There’s a good deal of friendly competition among the Relay for Life teams, Alligood added. The announcement of those raising the most money will be featured in a future edition of the Daily News, once those results are available.
Among those teams are the Bosom Buddies, a gracious group of ladies who are survivors of breast cancer. Their fundraising efforts have included bake sales and selling purple bows, a symbol of cancer survivors.
“We’ve also sold Relay for Life jewelry and we sold over 1,000 raffle tickets,” said Joyce Jones, a spokeswoman for the team. “People are very generous to us.”
They’re survivors, but the fight isn’t over yet.
“We do this because we still have a long way to go,” Jones said. “We need money to do more research to save lives.”
Relay for Life is a fundraising event, but it also serves as a way to raise public awareness of cancer and to thank the community for its support, according to Jones.
The ladies manned their booth in shifts throughout the night, and walkers kept the WHS track in use from the beginning lap at 6 p.m. Friday until closing ceremonies at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We especially want to thank the teenagers and children who have helped with the walking,” Jones said.
And the spirit of friendly competition prevails throughout the event. But there’s no Caribbean cruise for the winners, who are just grateful for the opportunity to work toward a cure.
“Oh, we cruise. We cruise on home when this is over and say ‘Thank you, Lord’ for another year,” said Bosom Buddies member Shelby P. Mizelle.
*Donations received through the end of July will count toward this year’s Beaufort County Relay for Life total. Checks, made payable to American Cancer Society, can be mailed to Alligood at 7581 Broad Creek Road, Washington, N.C. 27889.