‘Don’t ever give up’

Published 9:03 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

WINDSOR – Some of our bravest celebrity cancer fighters have said it best: This is a fight to win!

“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,” said the late TNT Sportscaster Craig Sager, who fought to the end three years ago.

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!”

2019 also marks 26 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: “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 celebrates their 26th 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. Five 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 over four million dollars in the fight against cancer over its first quarter century. Relay for Life of Bertie County is also recognized as one of the top fundraising events in the nation.

Bertie’s Relay event is shortened to a single day of activities (May 17) 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 sponsors are slated to participate, several with teams. They include Perdue Farms, Vidant Bertie Hospital, Cedar Landing Baptist Church, Connarista Baptist Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Aulander Ruritan Club, Aulander Medical Practice, Aulander First Baptist, Berry Global, Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Bertie Rural Health Association, Bertie Early College High School, Bertie High School, Bertie Middle School, Aulander First Baptist Church, Conocanary Baptist Church, Bertie County Local Government, Town of Windsor, Southern Bank, Indian Woods Baptist Church, Coastal Medical Transport, Mars Hill Community, West Bertie, Windsor, and Colerain Elementary Schools, Powellsville Baptist Church, Bertie County Peanuts, Town of Aulander, Republic Services-Aulander Division, Sandy Branch Baptist Church, Center Grove Baptist Church, Piney Wood Chapel Baptist Church, St. Elmo Baptist Church, and Dominion-NC Power.

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. They make a ‘Chain of Hope’, and the child 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. There will still be a special Kid’s Lap for young walkers.

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 last year. “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.”

Bertie Relay for Life

Schedule of Events

Friday, May 17

Roy Bond Jr. Stadium

6:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies

Keynote Speaker: Wanda Cofield, Principal – Bertie Early College High School

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

11:20 pm – Team Drawings/Relay Quilt Drawing

11:45 pm – Closing Remarks – Last Lap

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