Relay for Life begins tonight

Published 1:53 pm Friday, May 4, 2007

VIDALIA — Friday night and early Saturday morning, Miss-Lou residents will celebrate life and the hope for a cancer-free future at Relay for Life.

It will begin at 7 p.m. Friday with the survivor’s lap and will last until 7 a.m. Saturday on the Vidalia Riverfront.

The relay is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, and is a fundraiser for cancer research and patient services, Chairwoman of the Miss-Lou Relay Julia Drews said.

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Teams sponsored by local businesses and organizations keep an all-night vigil by having someone continually walk laps around the track.

During the event, teams also sell items or food to raise money.

Raffles, toys, games and T-shirts will be among some of the items sold this year, Drews said.

The relay will have a new fundraising contest this year, she said.

Beginning at 8 p.m. Friday will be the Relay Idol contest, in which participating team members will perform with either a CD or their own instruments, Drews said.

The crowd will vote by placing money in a bucket designated for each performer, she said.

The performer who raises the most money will be declared the winner.

Teams have already been raising funds, and by Tuesday night more than $182,000 had been raised, Drews said.

Funds raised by Saturday morning will hopefully exceed last year’s total of $189,666, she said.

Some of the funds raised by the relay go to the Hope Lodge in New Orleans, where anyone who is receiving cancer treatment and one family member can go to stay for free during the treatment, Drews said.

In Natchez, the American Cancer Society sponsors a “Look Good, Feel Better” program that teaches women how to put on makeup while they are receiving cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy can change skin color and type, Drews said.

A “Man-to-Man” group for men who have had prostate cancer is also sponsored locally, she said.

A survivors reception will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday. A local oncologist will provide the survivors with a meal, and they will be given a T-shirt, Drews said.

Parking for the event will be on the north end of the event, between the relay and the Mississippi River bridge.

The only parking allowed on the south side of the event will be team parking, she said.

There will be areas set aside for handicapped and survivors’ parking, she said.