There were many changes at the Relay For Life of Nolan County this year. It was in the fall, not spring; indoors, not outside at the track field; and all day, not all night! The one thing that didnâ€™t change was the amazing support from the community and the power of hope.
The day started off with the 1st Annual Car Show and Relay Fun Day sponsored by Select Energy, 4 Star Hose and Supply and Oâ€™Reilly Auto Parts. There were over 30 unique vehicles that came out and participated at the event. Relay teams set up their tents in the air conditioning and had food and games available for the children throughout the day. Relayers could even pay $1/swing to take a sledgehammer to an old car and â€śBeat Cancerâ€ť as the Sweetwater High School drumline showed off their chops. Other more adventurous Relayers participated in the donut and wing eating contests.
The Relay For Life Committee would like to say a huge thank you to Skeetâ€™s Texas Grill for generously providing the survivor, caregiver and community meal before the official Relay events kicked off with an emotional survivor lap. Throughout the evening, teams walked the indoor track, continued fundraising and bid on a large silent auction that included autographed memorabilia from the Josh Abbott Band and Coach Kliff Kingsbury.
When asked on Facebook what participantâ€™s favorite part of the night was, there was a split between the Luminaria Ceremony and the Miss-ter Relay Pageant. Both were amazing, but in completely different ways.
The Luminaria Ceremony started off with a special award being presented to one of the founders of the Relay For Life of Nolan County. Janis McDowell was presented the Charlene Hulme Award as the 2013 Survivor of the Year by Mr. Hulme himself. A special slide show put pictures to the names written on the hundreds of luminaria bags that twinkled around the track. An â€śempty tableâ€ť was then sat and â€śpast, present and future candlesâ€ť were lit by survivors and their caregivers. Hundreds of people joined hands around the glowing bags to honor and remember their loved ones. As Mercy Meâ€™s â€śI Can Only Imagineâ€ť played, the silence was broken by what seemed like every voice that began to sing along in what can only be described as one of the most powerful scenes you can imagine.
After that incredible Luminaria Ceremony it was time to pick things back up again. Cue the Miss-ter Relay Pageant. As the DJ blasted â€śDude Looks Like A Lady,â€ť the doors were thrown open and in paraded eight lovelyâ€¦dudes, dressed in their finest evening attire. They answered questions, showed off their dance moves and raised over $300 between them. Ultimately, â€śRed Velvetâ€ť aka Freshman Mustang Dylan Ausborn, was crowned 2013 Miss-ter Relay. A special thank you to the gentlemen, who were willing to do anything to fight cancer, even sport a coconut bra.
The evening concluded with a performance by Team Chip for the Fight Back Ceremony followed by a closing ceremony that was interrupted by a couple of Spartan Cheerleaders circa mid 90s SNL, to announce that the event had surpassed goal and raised over $27,000!
There are far too many people to thank for making the event such a success, but we must acknowledge all of the hard work by this yearâ€™s committee and team captains. Thank you to Cindy Hamlin (Chair), Damian MuĂ±oz (Co-Chair), Chris Hamlin (Car Show), Mark Garcia (Teams), Richard Fergeson (Sponsors), Kevin Shipp (Accounting), Yasmeen Chavez (Activities), Chris Stephens (Survivors), Rusty Goates (Logistics), James Hamlin (youth volunteer), Marisol Solis (First Financial Bank), Mike Fernandez (Texas National Bank), Theresa Cowart (Jayteens), Amy Bayse (Medicine Place), Zela Armstrong (Sweetwater Reporter), Scott Davis (Team Babbo), Rojelio MuĂ±oz (The MuĂ±oz Family), Chassity Maples (Team Chassity), Monica Wagner and Yasmeen Chavez (TSTC Tornadoes), Amanda Martinez (Team Lonnie/Team Chip), Mary Garza and Armondo Garza (Team Suzie), Chris Litt (Broadway Baptist Church), Stella Garcia (The Carrillo Bunch), and Justin and Ashley Adames (Duckinâ€™ Cancer).
We could not have reached our goal without the generosity of this yearâ€™s sponsors. Thank you to our Title Sponsor Select Energy for going above and beyond. Thank you to the Gold Sponsors: 4 Star Hose and Supply, Skeet's Texas Grill, Wal-Mart, The Medicine Place, Buzzi Unicem, Big D Promotions and The Sweetwater Reporter. Silver Sponsors were Shannon Clinic, First Financial Bank, First Financial Trust, Texas National Bank and Sweetwater Rifle and Pistol Club. Bronze Sponsors were Texas State Technical College, Cathy Wilks, Eaker Family Medicine, Ludlum Measurements, Edward Jones-Jason Blake, State Farm-Richard Ferguson, Cate-Spencer and Trent Funeral Home, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital, Brookshire's, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Peak Energy, DJ Taz and Star 106.3, KXOX Radio, Lion's Club, Morgan Real Estate, Hall Law Firm, McCoy Funeral Home, CGS- Creative Graphic Solutions, Damian MuĂ±oz, Avondale Baptist Church, Aaronâ€™s, The Flower Box, Norman Ashford and Nolan County Coliseum.
The funds raised from Relay For Life go to fund life-saving research, education, advocacy and local patient services. Last year alone, the American Cancer Society provided 229 services to 52 patients in Nolan County through programs such as the guestroom, Road To Recovery, and wig programs. For more information on all of the patient services offered by the American Cancer Society or to find out how you can get involved, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
Thank you again to everyone that came out and we hope to see you again next year.