Editorial: Annual event brought community together for the common good

Jun. 04, 2013 @ 11:56 PM

Wasn't it nice to have a Relay For Life event without any rain? Yes, it was warm, but so many of these fundraisers in years past have been dogged by bad weather. Not this year. It helped create an atmosphere and a spirit that should be reflected when the final numbers come out.

This annual event at Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park generates a renewed purpose in the Relay For Life program. Everyone has been touched by cancer. This event brings together those people, plus survivors and family members in a show of community support perhaps unprecedented during the year.

Hundreds turned out, staffing booths and keeping up the steady walk around the track. Others visit because of the fun — music, the womanless beauty pageant, the auction, the booths selling food and other items, and a children's play area.

Relay is supposed to be fun, even with its more serious purpose. Many communities across this nation hold similar events. Ours is pretty special. Dozens of businesses, clubs and organizations are sponsors, with booths serving up a variety of foods and other items to raise money. Many hold bake sales, yards sales and benefit meals to generate the money they pledge to bring to the event. It is true community service.

The most moving part of any Relay, of course, is the cancer survivors’ walk. In addition to survivors, many walk in memory of lost loved ones. It is the single event that raises awareness of how insidious this disease is and how critical it is to raise the money needed to fund research that can lead to a cure. No one can claim to be untouched by cancer. It has affected relatives, friends, classmates and community leaders. Much progress has been made, but much more must follow to get even closer to a cure.

To those who put together the 2013 Relay for Life, thanks. To those who sponsored booths and raised money, thanks. To those who came out to be part of it and buy some of the items offered for sale, thanks. The journey is far from over. But this latest stop in that journey was a success indeed.