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'Relay' sets high goals
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Dawson County is preparing to give cancer a run or walk for its money at the annual Relay for Life. The overnight fundraising event for cancer research begins at 7 p.m. May 18 at Veterans Memorial Park, and will last through 7 a.m. the following day.

We have approximately 30 teams signed up to participate, Roger Slaton of State Farm Insurance said. Slaton is the survivor chairperson for Relay for Life in Dawson County. The reason behind doing Relay is Cancer never sleeps, so we walk all night long. At different times during the evening, well be honoring different people.

The schedule of events is packed through the night, with the opening ceremony beginning at 7 p.m., including the survivors lap and the team lap. The survivors lap is when we honor those who have fought and won, or are fighting, against cancer, said Joan Talley, accounting chairperson for Dawson Countys Relay for Life team. Talley has been at every Relay for Life event that Dawson County has hosted since its inception, and has served on the committee for approximately 10 years.

Its a very moving event, Talley said. I think the most moving is the survivors lap. ... I also think the lighting of the luminaries is very touching.

There will also be dance training, gymnastics demonstrations and live music. Were still looking for some bands to perform in the middle of the night, said Tasha Hamil, who is entertainment and fundraising chair of this years event. Were going to try to take a break in the middle of the night and have a campfire, roast marshmallows and enjoy live music.

Slaton said that the campsites at the event would be decorating as different states across the country. The theme this year is a patriotic theme. ... For example, State Farm is going to be Texas. Slaton explained how the tent would be decorated with items like bullhorns and cowboy boots. Other tents from other businesses will represent other states, and theyll be hosting activities and selling items which correspond with whatever state they are. Visitors and participants will be able to walk around the variety of campsites, and take part in different games and activities that the groups have set up, as well as enjoy some of the food being made.

My interest in Relay began a long time ago, Slaton said. My brother died with throat cancer when he was 42 years old. It struck me as strange as to why that would happen, because he was not a smoker. Then later on, some folks just asked me if Id be interested in getting involved in Relay. ... I guess my heart went out to the survivors.

According to Suzanne Hendricks, the community manager for Dawson and Forsyth counties for Relay for Life, the goal for this year was to raise $90,000. According to the Relay for Life website for Dawson County, over $50,000 has been raised. I think were well on our way to meet that goal, Talley said. Talley and Slaton both said that the amount of funds raised is actually a bit ahead of what was expected for this time frame.

Were ahead of where we were last year at this time, Justin Power, co-chair of the event, said. The communitys really come out for this.