Poplar Bluff Relay For Life

Sep 20, 2014

POPLAR BLUFF – Almost $20,000 was raised Friday night at Poplar Bluff’s Relay For Life hosted at the Black River Coliseum.

Shanna Gilberto, Relay for Life Specialist, said about 54 Butler County cancer survivors participated in this year’s event, with many attending the annual Cancer Survivor’s Dinner the evening before. Ten teams raised money throughout the year, and several area businesses also made donations to the effort.

“The unique thing about this event is that 100 percent of the proceeds actually goes to the American Cancer Society in funding its mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing the suffering that comes from cancer. The money goes to research, education, advocacy, and service,” explained Gilberto.

Several area businesses gave the event a huge boost through their corporate sponsorship. Gold Sponsors, donating $2500 were Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center and Danny Bell Cancer Treatment Center; Rowland Family Dentistry and Southeast Health were both Bronze Sponsors, donating $500; Commerce Bank. First Midwest Bank, Poplar Bluff Realty, Simmons Tire/Marble Slab, Whelan Wealth Management, The Bank of Missouri, Sterling Bank, Four Oaks Hospice, and Larry Hillis Dodge were Purple Sponsors, donating $250. Friends of the Relay, donating $100 to the event, were McLane Transport, Cotrell Funeral Service, Clark Law Firm, Center for Advanced Orthodontics, Dr. John N. Fox, Dental Arts Group, Huddle House, Hundred Fold Investments, LLC, Mid Continent Nail, and Greg’s Auto sales, Inc.

In-Kind sponsors were Luecke Distributing, First United Methodist Church of Poplar Bluff, Daily American Republic, Clear 94, Z95.5, and KWOC.

Part of this year’s event was the “Paint the Town Purple” Contest. The Forget-Me-Nots Team was given the Top Fundraising Award. Dare to Care Team won the Relay Rookie Award for being the top new fundraising team.

Poplar Bluff Public Schools participated by having “Relay For Life Jeans Day”, raising $1,065.

The Luminaria Ceremony took place at 9 p.m. at the front entrance of the Black River Coliseum, in which the entire path was illuminated with Luminaria bags in remembrance of those lost to cancer and for those who have battled the disease.

Gilberto said she was thrilled with participation in this year’s event, and is already building teams for next year’s event. Those interested in participating should contact Gilberto at 573-718-3746.

At the opening ceremony, speakers talked of the progress that has been made in the fight against cancer.

“Not so long ago, a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence,” noted Gilberto. “Now 2 out of 3 cancer patients live.”

The event began at 6 p.m. and didn’t end until 2 a.m. Walkers enjoyed entertainment and “music to fight” with Jim Hagar manning the sound system, himself a cancer survivor.

The theme of “Fight Back” was seen around the walking track with words of encouragement and reminders of how the American Cancer Society helps cancer patients and their families, with facilities like Hope Lodge, where families can stay while getting cancer treatments out of town.

“More than 11 million Americans are alive today as cancer survivors,” concluded Gilberto. “That is a real reason for hope.”