Relay readies for Friday event

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, May 2, 2012

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Relay for Life chairperson Charman Cupit, right, counts up change turned in the from group F.R.O.G. as Julia Drews, left, organizes money and checks at bank night. Relay for Life teams turned in the funds they had raised at the Comfort Inn and Suites Tuesday night. Relay for Life starts Friday.

VIDALIA — When more than 50 teams gather at the Vidalia Riverfront Friday evening, the message will be clear — celebrate, remember and fight back.

The 2012 Miss-Lou Relay for Life will kick off Friday with survivor registration at 4:30 p.m. and continue steadily until 4 a.m. Saturday.

Teams will gather for the Relay welcome at 6 p.m.

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Following the welcome, an opening prayer from the Rev. Darian Duckworth and welcome from Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland will start at 6:30 p.m.

Shane Seyfarth, who was diagnosed with colon cancer before it also spread to his lungs and liver, will be the survivor speaker at 6:45 p.m.

The first lap of the evening will be a duct tape theme at 7:30 p.m.

There will be a luminary service at 9 p.m., with the second lap, themed “searching/finding a cure,” starting at 9:45 p.m.

The third lap will feature a “Racing for a Cure Box Car” theme, which begins at 12:15 a.m.

After the final theme lap, the team actives will begin. The activities will include a boxcar race, make up artist, egg roll and jelly bean relay.

Easy Eddie and the Party Rockers will provide Relay entertainment from 8 to 9 p.m. and from 10 to midnight.

Tuesday’s bank night brought the Relay total for 2012 to approximately $117,000, which is $92,000 short of the $209,000 annual goal.

One of the teams involved in Relay this year was able to raise more than $3,000 by selling baked goods, T-shirts and the promise of seeing a Vidalia High School teacher lock lips with a barnyard animal.

April Cavin, who is an allied health high school instructor and a licensed practical nurse, leads the Central Louisiana Technical College PCT (patient care technician) group.

Cavin teaches at Vidalia High School for the first three hours of her day and helps 11th graders earn dual credits for high school and college by learning about being a patient care technician.

Cavin said she had been looking for a community service type project for her students, and the decision was easy after her cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.

“I’ve participated in Relay just about every year, but once my cousin was diagnosed, that kind of fueled my fire a little bit,” Cavin said. “Plus, my junior class is old enough to realize what Relay for Life is really about, and they’ve just been really energetic about it.”

The team got off to a slow start by selling cupcakes, brownies and other treats.

Then the students started picking up speed by designing their own T-shirts and selling those at school.

But one of the highest fundraisers for the team came with a “Kiss the Pig” contest.

Glass jars were set out in each teacher and administrator’s office, and whichever had the most money at the end of the month had to kiss a pig in front of the whole school.

“It started getting real competitive toward the end,” Cavin said.

Geometry and algebra teacher Jeanne Beach, who raised $412, shared an intimate kiss with a miniature potbelly pig last Friday.

In a show of good faith, some of the other top 10 teachers also got a kiss from the pig, including Principal Rick Brown.

The PCT team will join the other teams Friday evening on the Riverfront to continue fundraising efforts.

Following record-breaking floods last year that caused the event to be relocated to the Natchez bluff, this year’s event is back at the Vidalia Riverfront — but not for long.

“We’re so glad to have it back home,” said Relay Chair Sherry Kiser. “But this will be our last year on the riverfront.”

If all goes according to plan, next year’s Relay will be at the new Vidalia Recreation Complex, Kiser said.

The 50-acre recreation complex is expected to be ready in late July or August.