HOUSTON — They walked, they talked and they raised money to find a cure for cancer.
Hundreds of people packed Joe Brigance Park Friday night to celebrate the 2014 Chickasaw County Relay for Life and raise money to fight cancer.
“We had good crowds, good participation and perfect weather,” said Rick Huffman, spokesman for the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society. “It was a big night for Houston and a big night for the American Cancer Society.”
Huffman said the totals are not final but he estimated the amount raised would be on the high side of $30,000.
“We had a very good cross-section of Chickasaw County participate this year,” said Huffman. “If you have ever had cancer touch your life, you are passionate about finding a cure. There are a lot of people in this community who have beat cancer and we want that number to go higher.”
Huffman pointed out 78-percent of every dollar raised goes to cancer research. The remainder is used to educate and inform people about cancer and a small percentage is earmarked for administration.
“Cancer can be such a devastating disease and it can strike so quickly,” said Huffman. “This is a very positive event people smile and we come together to encourage people to keep fighting and stay focused on finding a cure for cancer.”
Chickasaw County Relay for Life started Friday with a Victory Lap for those who have been cured of cancer or who are still fighting the disease. More than 40 people donned a purple shirt and made that first lap.
This year’s fundraiser also saw families and friends of cancer patients make the second lap as a show of support.
Then the fun began with the introduction of events sponsors, elected officials and both military and emergency service personnel.
“The more people you can get involved in Relay the more successful it becomes,” said Huffman. “We worked hard to get more people on the track this year and hopefully that will pay off next year, too.”
Fundraising teams also set up campsites around the park, selling various food items and trinkets with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.
This year’s Relay teams included: Houston Teachers, First United Methodist Church, City of Houston, Regions Bank, WalMart, The B-Team (Bethlehem Church), the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department, Our Team–Survivors & Supporters and folks from Woodland, Houlka and Okolona.
Entertainment was provided by Ashley Tutor and the Legends of the Blues.
The evening was capped with the Luminaria Ceremony with candles lit in memory of those who have died from cancer and those who continue to fight the disease.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Houston and Chickasaw County,” said Huffman. “This community puts a lot of hard work into this event and it shows. It’s an incredible tribute to those who are fighting this disease. I can’t say it enough, but with people and events like this, we will one day find a cure for cancer.”
Huffman said donations can still be made by calling him at the local office of the American Cancer Society at 662-844-8544 or by visiting www.cancer.org. All donations are tax deductible.