In December of 1991 my father, Charlie Gregory, lost his courageous fight against cancer after a year-long battle with the deadly disease. I thought I had lived through enough to prepare me for almost anything, but none of us are ever prepared to lose a loved one to cancer.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity, offering everyone in the community a chance to participate in the fight against cancer. Their goal is to create a world where more people survive this disease so they can celebrate another birthday and this year more than 11 million people will be able to do that thanks to the support of all the dedicated Relay participants.

This year eleven teams will camp out at Key Park, on Friday night, June 4th, including Citizens Bank, Measure-Up, Wal-Mart, Hillwood Helpers, North Central Telephone, Troop #4514, Fleetwood, Macon County General Hospital, Walgreens, The Palace and Nestle Waters of North America. They will take turns walking or running around the track with the common goal of eliminating this deadly disease that never sleeps. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the overnight event.

“Much more than a walk, Relay For Life is a time to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease,” said Co-Chairman Lisa Yokley. “Those who have shared the same experience find common ground, and it is also a great way for people to meet other survivors in our community. By participating, you have the power to continue the American Cancer Society’s progress toward a future where cancer doesn’t take the lives of our friends and family.”

“The event actually kicked off back in the fall,” explained Lisa, “with the various teams signing up and raising money for cancer in the following months, culminating in the fun-filled overnight event beginning at 6:00 p.m. this Friday. Raising over $38,000 last year, Relay will offer something for everyone, from the newly diagnosed, to caregivers and friends, to long-term survivors.

“Whether it’s a parent, sibling, friend or neighbor, we all know someone who has been touched by cancer. Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to this disease will never be forgotten, that those who face it will be supported and that one day it will be eliminated.”

The opening ceremonies will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the invocation by Walter Andrews and the National Anthem by Teresa Patterson; 6:10 p.m. team introductions and banner parade; 6:25 p.m. Inspiration Speaker Jack McCall; 6:45 p.m. team activity; 6:55 Middle Tennessee Children’s Choir, under the direction of Alyson Haley; 7:20 p.m. Survivor Walk; 7:55 p.m. the Kinship-Dale Meador, Marcia Briggie, Melanie Bowman; 8:15 p.m. team activity; 8:30 p.m. Lafayette United Methodist Church Choir and Bell Choir; 8:55 p.m. The Pedigo Family/True Spirit Trio; 9:20 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony; 9:55 p.m. George Ridenour; 10:15 p.m. team activity; 10:25 p.m. The Graduates-MCHS; 10:45 p.m. Shattered Silence; 11:20/11:30 One 43; 12:00-4:00 a.m. after hours games/teams & committee; 4:30 a.m. clean-up; 5:00 a.m. Awards. The Master of Ceremonies this year is Dale Meador.

“Relay For Life is a great way for Macon County to demonstrate it’s commitment to fighting this disease,” continued Lisa, “so please join us at Key Park on Friday night, June 4th, and help us prove we are making progress in this battle. Every dollar you raise makes a difference to people in our community whose lives are touched by cancer.”

The Relay For Life 2010 Corporate Sponsors are: Citizens Bank, Macon Bank & Trust, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Inc., Nestle Water North America, North Central Telephone, Wal-Mart, Lafayette Rotary Club, and Macon County General Hospital.

The Survivor T-shirt sponsors are: Comprehensive Rehabilitation Inc., Knollwood Manor, and The White House Assisted Living. The Luminaria Ceremony sponsor is American Exterior Supply.

The Survivor Reception sponsors are: Martin Family Health Care, LLC, Family Care Center, Primary Health Care Group, Inc., Ronda Worsham, FNP, Alpha Medical Associates, and Armadillo Medical Services. Also thanks to American Tool & Equipment Rental.

The 2010 Relay For Life Committee members are: Lisa Yokley, Debbie Gregory, Carrie Gregory, Hannah Holland, Jennifer Knight, Elizabeth Dodson, Matt Holland, Amanda Groesbeck, Amy Kemp, Angie Doss, Brownie Barton, and Cristina Yokley.