Relay for Life benefits cancer society

Event set for Patriot Park next week
May. 23, 2013 @ 11:10 PM

Sevier County's Relay for Life will kick off with a survivor's lap on Friday, May 31, at Patriot Park, followed by a ceremony in which local cancer survivors will be honored with a medallion.

"We feel that you're able to do something in the battle against cancer," said event co-chair Ann Marie Atchley. "Sometimes with a cancer diagnosis, you get a feeling of helplessness, but through involvement with Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, we really are making a difference."

This is Atchley's first year serving as co-chair of Relay for Life, along with her father, Sevierville mayor and cancer survivor Bryan Atchley.

Between losing her mother, Cherie Atchley, to cancer eight years ago, and watching her father endure two bouts with the disease, the fundraiser is an important cause for Atchley.

Advances are continually being made in cancer research, she said. "We were able to have two good, quality years with my mother after her diagnosis. If the diagnosis had come a few years earlier, we wouldn't have had as much time," she said. "It really does work."

Various entertainments have been scheduled for the evening, including singers, church choirs and a bagpiper. Both a silent and live auction will be held to raise additional funds.

The Luminaria Ceremony, which occurs at every Relay for Life event in the nation, will take place at 9:30 p.m. As the sun sets, luminaria will line the track in remembrance of those who lost the bottle and honoring those whose fight still continues.

At 11 p.m., a womanless beauty pageant will be held. "It can be pretty entertaining," Atchley said.

At 7 a.m. on Saturday, Crossfit will hold a fitness demonstration, and the Old Mill will sponsor a pancake breakfast. Cancer survivors who show their medallion will receive a free breakfast.

In the afternoon, the event will close with presentations.

"It's been a great experience, and I've loved organizing it. We have a wonderful committee, which makes it easy," Atchley said. n