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Relay for Life: Bertie County celebrates 19th year

WINDSOR – It’s been around for nearly two decades.

Friday and Saturday the tradition that has become synonymous with Bertie County – Relay for Life – will kick off its 19th annual event.

“We’re looking for a positive weekend in which we continue our fight against cancer,” Event Co-Chair Glenwood F. Mitchell said. “Our theme of celebrating more birthdays is exactly what Relay for Life is about. We want to cure this dreaded disease and make sure we all have more birthdays to celebrate.”

After a six-hour setup time, the event will officially kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday with the opening Ceremonies at Bertie High School. During that time a host of local dignitaries will be involved in the event.

Megan Booth-Mills will welcome everyone to the event and introduce Master of Ceremonies Norman M. Cherry Sr. The Rev. Chris Lee of Edgewood Baptist Church is slated to do the invocation followed by the presentation of colors by the Bertie High School JROTC and the national anthem sung by Pam Chamblee.

Mitchell and co-chair Codie Bartley will then welcome everyone to the 19th annual event before the crowd receives greetings from Bertie Board of Education Chairwoman Gloria Lee, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins, Windsor Mayor Jim Hoggard, Bertie County Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard, Bertie Sheriff John Holley, VP of Vidant Bertie Hospital Jeffery Dial and Golf Pro Daniel Sumerel of Scotch Hall Preserve.

After local dignitaries have their time of greeting, Christine Dudley and the Survivor Committee will recognize each of the cancer survivors who will make the first lap around the track.

The second lap will be made by those who are caregivers.

Once the event is under way, a host of activities will keep everyone busy.

Corey Balance will provide music from 7-7:30 p.m. followed by a half hour of music from the Indian Woods Baptist Church Choir.

The Kids Walk is scheduled from 8-9:30 p.m.

At 9:30 p.m. the annual Luminary Ceremony will be held. At that time all activities will cease and time will be spent remembering those who have lost their battle with cancer and those who are still fighting it.

Charles Smith will take the stage at 10:30 p.m. and will provide another half hour of music until karaoke takes center stage at 11 p.m.

The next scheduled event takes place at 1:15 a.m. when there will be a Birthday Lap in which walkers are asked to show their best birthday attire. A ladies lap will take place at 1:30 a.m. followed by a gentlemen’s lap at 2 a.m.

From 2-3 a.m. there will be a DJ and participants are encouraged to dance.

A PJ lap is planned for 3 a.m. and then a reverse lap at 3:15 a.m.

The DJ will return to the stage at 3:30 a.m. and play until 4:30 p.m. when a quiet time is planned.

At 7 a.m., participants are encouraged to participate in a sunrise service with the Rev. Robert Lewis of Sandy Branch Baptist Church and the Rev. Jeffery Russell of Ross Baptist Church.

Breakfast, compliments of Sara Lee, will be served at 7:45 a.m. followed by a Zumba Wake Up led by the Bertie County YMCA at 8 a.m.

The DJ will return at 9 a.m. and then closing ceremonies and awards presentations are planned for 10 a.m.

The goal for Bertie Relay for Life is $197,000 this year. Mitchell and Bartley said they want to “put the heat on cancer” by each person realizing a goal of $212 in 2012.