August 9, 2001

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if there was no such thing as cancer? Well I'd have to find a new sign, but I'd give up my horoscope if they could find a cure for the terrible disease that in one way or another touches everyone's life. Well, on Friday night cancer definitely touched a lot of lives in Scotland County. Actually it was the American Cancer Society that touched all these lives as the organizations local effort for the Relay for Life was a huge success.

Hundreds of volunteers walked non-stop for 12 hours as spectators cheered them on in a march around the Memphis City Square from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. In all the fund raiser generated more than $14,000 for cancer research as the community came together to support cancer survivors, to remember those that the disease has taken, and basically to have a fun time for a good cause.

The Relay for Life culminated August 4, but the work started months in advance. The planning process was the work of a core group of committee members. They deserve a huge round of applause. Countless others donated money, supplies and other assets to the project. Still others organized preliminary events to get the fundraising off to an early start. Mona's Studio took the lead with a number of activities dating back to fair time. Another very popular event was the pink flamingo flock of Xi Theta Tau sorority. These pink birds migrated from yard to yard on a donation basis, giving residents an opportunity to pay to have the birds visit their yard. It was sort of like a bad chain letter, because if the flamingos found your yard, the recommended cure was a donation to the Relay for Life to make the birds fly away to a destination of your suggestion.

The big money came in on relay night through the participation of the various walking teams. Money also came in via the sale of luminaries. The candles lined all four sides of the square before the lighting ceremony offered a listing of all those for which candles were purchased.

While the program was extraordinary, I could not help but wonder why it took such a momentous occasion to bring everyone together on the town square for a Friday night of fun. Evidently that didn't use to be a problem, as plenty of folks were reminiscing about past weekend evenings spent on the town square. It was often so busy, people would park their cars on the square bright and early Saturday morning and then go home. That would insure them a spot for that night's fun. Nowadays about the only thing that can fill one side of the square is a big funeral or a national election.

All it took Friday night to keep everyone happy was a couple food stands, a little music, both live and recorded, and a couple simple games like the dunk tank. Most off all, people just spent the time talking and enjoying one and another's company.

Hopefully we can realize how easy it is to enjoy our community. Oh well, if not we'll just have to wait a couple weeks until the Antique Fair, which will bring us all back to square for another weekend of fun.

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