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RELAY FOR LIFE FRIDAY: Annual fund-raiser brings entire county together at NBHS for one common cause

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Survivor Dinner at 5 p.m. followed by 2014 Relay for Life at 7 p.m. at NBHS

By Stephen Thomas

 HEBRON ESTATES - The fight against cancer is worldwide, but Bullitt Countians gather at North Bullitt High School to celebrate the victories and honor loved ones at the annual Relay for Life.

This year’s Relay theme is “Saving Lives Around the World” with each team camp site decorated in honor of various countries.

For two decades the Bullitt County Relay for Life has offered a way to raise funding for cancer research and raise awareness of the disease.

The overnight event also allows the community to show its support for cancer survivors and their caregivers. The relay itself begins at 7:30 p.m. with a “victory lap” for the survivors, followed by a Caregiver lap.

Survivors and caregivers are also honored during the free Survivors Dinner prior to the actual relay at 5 p.m. in the North Bullitt cafeteria.

Stacey Bernard, Relay production chairperson, said more than 200 invitations were distributed. Everyone is invited to attend the dinner, with door prizes available.

“We like to recognize the survivors and really celebrate their achievements,” Bernard said.

Following the dinner, survivors gather at the North Bullitt track for a group photo at 6:45 p.m., followed by the Relay’s opening ceremonies.

Once survivor and caregiver laps are completed, everyone is invited onto the track for the next 12 hours. The true idea of the Relay is to have at least one representative from each camp site walking on the track throughout the event.

“The Relay is all night but you can come out as long as you can to support us,” Bernard said.

To help keep the patrons awake and alert, many fun activities are scheduled throughout the night, including such favorites as the cupcake-eating contest, frozen shirt contest and the Relay team scavenger hunt.

Bernard said various “Minute to Win It” games will be hosted. Door prizes will be available to participants.

A new game this year is the “Banana Pass” team event.

“They’ll be laying down and they’ll pass the banana with their feet,” Bernard said. “We’ll have that and lots of other team games.”

Last year’s Relay patrons witnessed a spectacle of its own merit, the Mr. Relay competition. For those that can stomach it, they will see men dressed as women competing to solicit the most donated funds for the Relay.

“This one has to be a fan favorite,” Bernard said.

The Relay is designed as a fun event for all, but the most important part is always honored with the Luminaria at 11 p.m.

During the ceremony, lights are dimmed around the track and patrons remain silent as the names of cancer patients, victims and survivors are read.

Luminaries, white bags with candles inside and a name written on the side, are lit along the track and in the bleachers, each representing a patient, victim or survivor.

The luminaries are available for $5 and will be sold until 10 p.m. Friday night.

There will also be Lanterns of Hope placed around the track this year, which may be purchased in advance for $50. Bernard said the donor would get to keep the lantern as a personal souvenir.

To purchase a Lantern of Hope or a luminary, email bullittrelay@gmail.com.

The 2013 Relay collected over $186,000, remaining one of the top Relay events in the area.

“We have a great community that really supports our neighbors and our friends,” said Bernard. “This is a way to fight the fight and that’s why it is so special.”

The 2014 Bullitt County Relay for Life will take place, rain or shine, Friday, May 16 at North Bullitt High School from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.