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Relay for Life is tonight

Every journey begins with a single step. The single steps that will be taken at 7 p.m. tonight at the Kiwanis complex are not the beginning of a journey, but another stage of it. They are steps taken by thousands and hundreds of thousands of feet across the United States this time of year, and they are steps with a single goal at that journey's end - a cure for cancer.

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life kicks off at 7 p.m. in Andalusia for the fourth time, and every year, the fund- and awareness-raising event gets bigger and better.

"We reaised about $133,000 last year," said Meredyth Earnest, publicity chair for this year's event. The goal this year, according to Relay for Life Chairperson Marrianne DuBose, is $136,000.

"I'm very excited about this year because even with the economy and the war, we are stilll on schedule to come very close to our goal. Everyone has worked so hard and they are very determined to hit our goal. We want everyone to come out tonight. It's free admission - bring your lawnchairs and bring your family," she said.

Relay for Life is

an around-the-clock "Walk-a-thon," with sponsored teams raising money for the American Cancer Society. But the event, from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, involves a great deal more than that.

"Starting from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., we're going to have entertianment, children's activties, team games and concessions," said DuBose. Among the entertainment, she listed Andalusia native Marilyn Williams, who will sing the national anthem at the opening ceremonies, a young singer named Logan Tace, the Strut School of Baton, Dixieland Cloggers, the Bethany Baptist Ensemble, the Opp Band, Lillian Taylor, and the group Spirit and Truth. Among the activities scheduled are a Moon Pie eating contest, a disco contest, a tug-of-war, an egg toss and a three-legged race.

In recognition of those whom the American Cancer Society has helped, the evening begins with a sign-in and photography session for cancer survivors.

Once the survivors have registered, they will be recognized in the opening ceremonies. They will take the first lap of the evening, after the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. They will then, with guests, be treated to a special reception sponsored by Regions Bank.

At 10 p.m, the luminary ceremony, sponsored by Darby's Village Pharmacy, will take place. Luminaries, which can still be purchased for $5 each, are lit in memory of cancer victims and in honor of cancer survivors. As the evening continues, the games and entertainment also continue. The Opp Civitan Club will provide concessions, with all funds raised going to the American Cancer Society. In the morning, the Opp Civitans will also be serving breakfast.

The closing ceremonies will take place at 6 a.m., with the announcement of the team awards.

The Covington County Relay for Life alternates between Opp and Andalusia. The title sponsor this year is Covington Electric Cooperative. Other sponsors include Andalusia Junior Service League, Andalusia Regional Hospital, Bullard Excavating, Coterie Club, Covington County Bank, Dr. Kenneth Crowe, Drs. King and Burkhardt, Foreman Brown Funeral Home, Mizell Memorial Hospital, Moody Contracting, Opp Business and Professional Women, Pharma-care/Florala Pharmacy/Leader Drug stores, Shaw Industries, South Alabmama Oncology, Subway, Little Caesar's, Hook's Barbecue, the United States Postal Service, and Woodard, Patel and Sledge.

"Many, many others have donated 'in kind'

gifts as well," said Earnest.