County comes together for Relay

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2007

Greenville and Butler County came together again last week, uniting as one in hopes of finding a cure for cancer, the dreaded villain that has touched virtually all families and all people.

Last week's annual Relay for Life, staged only as a caring community can at the Greenville YMCA, was a happening, one that evoked memories of loved ones who lost gallant battles against the disease, one that honored and celebrated the fight of those moving forward and one that offered hope that one day, thanks in large part to similar events nationwide, the impact caused by the disease can be reduced, then eliminated altogether.

It is a noble goal.

Led by county chairman Joan Reynolds, luminaria chairman Ethelyn Watson and hundreds of other dedicated volunteers, sponsors and participants, the Butler County relay was a significant financial success, generating in excess of $107,000 with even more funds expected to increase that figure.

Monies will be given to the American Cancer Society and used to further research.

While the evening's festivities were filled with emotion and, for the most part, dodged challenging weather obstacles, the survivor's walk and the somber celebration of 700 luminarias against a silent backdrop provided the most meaningful and special of all moments. Impressive, too, was the initial Torches of Hope recognition that will certainly become part of the local tradition.

The party atmosphere thrust a number of organizations into their own spotlight. Bethel Baptist Church was awarded the Spirit of Relay Award. Greenville Middle School was cited as the largest fund-raiser while Harley's Angels earned the per capita giving recognition. The Angels also won the Tacky Tourist Relay while Alabama Power had the best team decoration and First United Methodist Church claimed the top cook-off prize. Billy Studstill, Amy Lewis and Amanda Conway were all cited as Relay Idols.

That the need to continue the fight against cancer remains unfortunate. That so many, however, are willing to press on is inspiring. And the hope that each year draws all closer to the cure provides the encouragement necessary to remain committed to so important a mission.