Bertie RFL celebrates its silver anniversary

Published 7:40 am Thursday, May 17, 2018

WINDSOR – We all know about the brave words of some of our bravest cancer fighters.

Most recently, it was TNT’s NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager. He lost his battle nearly two years ago, but the spirit of the courage it took to fight his battle lives on with the words: “I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life as life sucks the marrow out of me. I will live my life full of love and full of fun. It’s the only way I know how.”

Former ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, another “winner”, added one more battle cry with: “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live. So live, live, and fight like hell!”

2018 also marks 25 years since the fighting spirit and the fighting words of the late NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano became the energy and inspiration of this fight:

“I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal. You have to be willing to work for it. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!”

It doesn’t have to be a celebrity hero. Your inspiration may come from someone closer: a grandmother, a father, a child.

Now, as Bertie County fighters celebrate their ‘Silver Anniversary’, their 25th year, those with a real zeal and passion for continuing to fight cancer, and those who support them in that effort, will be promoting that battle during the annual Relay for Life, the first and oldest Relay in the state of North Carolina. Four years ago the American Cancer Society rated it tops in the nation in its population category and Relay for Life of Bertie County has raised nearly four million dollars in the fight against cancer over a quarter century. Relay for Life of Bertie County is also recognized as one of the top fundraising events in the nation.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.

Once more Bertie’s Relay event has been shortened to a single day of activities (May 18) at its usual venue of the old Bertie High School’s Roy Bond, Jr. Stadium. Relay for Life has changed some things while allowing still others to remain the same.

There will still be more than 70 teams from churches to businesses to individuals that will not only be walking, but also having other on-site fund-raisers.

Numerous teams are slated to participate. They include the Askewville Pre-K School, Vidant Bertie Hospital, Cedar Landing Baptist Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Aulander Elementary School, Aulander Medical Practice, Aulander First Baptist, Purple Cancer Eaters, Bertie Rural Health Association, Bertie Early College High School, Bertie High School, Bertie Middle School, Aulander First Baptist Church, Conocanary Baptist Church, Bertie County Board of Education, Southern Bank, Indian Woods Baptist Church, Friends of Relay, Mars Hill Community, West Bertie, Windsor, and Colerain Elementary Schools, Perdue Farms, Lace N Cakes, St. Elmo Baptist Church, Town of Aulander, Singing About A Cure, Center Grove Baptist Church, Piney Wood Chapel Baptist Church, St. Elmo Baptist Church, and Sandy Branch Baptist Church.

HTM Printing of Merry Hill is doing the T-shirts and the program booklets.

Another of the highlights is the Kid’s Walk, usually held earlier in the evening at 8 p.m.

“The kids that register and fund-raise have a competition between the schools,” said April Smith, Relay for Life’s Senior Community Manager. “They make a ‘Chain of Hope’, and the one with the longest link will win. There’ll be Little Miss Relay and Little Mister Relay of whoever raises the most money out of all the kids with the winner receiving a prize, and there will still be a special Kid’s Lap for young walkers.

All during the evening there will be fundraising activities such as face painting, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries and other food items will be prepared for sale. Beginning at 7 p.m. there will also be a pig pickin’

A highlight of the evening program – set for 9 p.m. – will be the Luminaria, whereby loved ones lost to cancer are remembered and those battling the disease are honored by dedicating luminaria bags with candles inside that are illuminated after dark.

Each luminaria is personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer. Hundreds of the illuminated bags will ring the track at Bond Stadium.

“The idea is to light the way toward a cure for cancer,” said event chair JoAnn Jordan. “These are the flames of hope, and we want them to burn throughout the night. We’re encouraging all survivors, caregivers, family and friends to come out and join us; and we have to thank our sponsors, we can’t do it without them.”

“Also, there will be door prizes at the end of the ceremonies, but you must be present to win,” Jordan added. “There’s a 50-inch flat-screen TV courtesy of Perdue Farms, a $100 gas card from DuckThru in Ahoskie, peanut gift baskets from Baker’s Peanuts and Bertie Peanuts, a $25 from Parker’s Barbecue in Greenville, and many more.”

Bertie Relay for Life

Schedule of Events

Friday, May 18

Roy Bond Jr. Stadium Football Field – Bertie High School

6:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Catherine Edmonds, Superintendent of Bertie County Schools

Survivor Introductions – Survivor Lap

7:00 pm – Survivor Reception

8:00 pm – Kid’s Walk

9:00 pm – Luminary Ceremony

9:30 pm – Entertainment

11:00 pm – Accounting Closes

11:15 pm – Fireworks (Courtesy of Perdue Farms)

11:45 pm – Closing Remarks – Last Lap

12:00 midnight – Event Closes – Clean-up Begins