Approximately 75 people gathered in the CHS fieldhouse lobby Monday evening for the 2010 Relay for Life Kickoff.  The kickoff included tasty chili and nachos – courtesy of Cushing 4-Hers, the harmonies of Second Chance and the recognition of the teams and sponsors of last year’s Relay.  This year’s Relay for Life will be held from 7 p.m. May 7th to 7 a.m. May 8th on the high school football field.  The annual event is a way to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer. 

Julie Davis, American Cancer Society (ACS) representative, commended Cushing Relay for Life for their contribution.  “Last year over $50,000 was raised from the Cushing area,” Davis said.  “That money allowed us to help 137 people in Payne County, providing services, education and lodging for familes.”

Davis said that the goal for 2010 is $60,000.  “Every single breakthrough in research has come from ACS fundings,” she said.

Special guest speaker and “Hero of Hope” Ronnie Trentham, told of his own battle with cancer – not just once, not just twice, but six times – and urged other survivors to participate in Relay for Life.  “I relay because I don’t want others to go through what I’ve been through,” Trentham said.  “When others see survivors making that Survivor Lap, it gives them hope.”

That hope can be for themselves or a loved one.

Event chair Dedra Marotta shared her story about her father-in-law Duane Snelson who died from cancer last year.  “When he told us he had stage 4 colon cancer I wanted to do two things – hug him tightly and slug him in the arm – of course I did the first,” Marotta said.  Snelson had been urged to have a test for colon cancer years before but had put it off.  “Get tested,” she said.

Marotta said besides the Survivor Lap and Luminaria Ceremony there will be a balloon release at this year’s Relay – “Messages to Heaven.”  Survivors, caretakers, friends and loved ones – everyone can do something.  If you would more information on Cushing Relay for Life, please contact Dedra Marotta at [email protected] or call (918) 223-6576.