|Tue, Sep 23, 2014 10:22 AM
|Issue of September 17, 2014
June 11, 2014 | 07:42 AM
One Elizabeth couple understands the importance of the American Cancer Society and that's why they'll be spending Friday and early Saturday morning at the Corydon Central High School track and football field.
"I know that one of the drugs she took for her cancer was developed by the American Cancer Society," Mark Gregory said about his wife, Patty, who has defeated cancer twice in the past 25 years. "She went through two different sets of radiation treatments. She went through six weeks of it both times."
Her first bout occurred about 18 months after her marriage via a rare form with a survival rate of about one person, of those diagnosed, in the United States per year. Then, five years ago, she battled breast cancer.
The Gregorys have been involved with Relay for Life, an event that raises money for the ACS, for more than 15 years in various ways.
The American Cancer Society is the second largest cancer research and education funder in the U.S.
About 100 years ago, one in 10 people diagnosed with cancer survived. Today, it's one in three, Mark Gregory said.
"Our goal is to have more birthdays and to make sure people are with their loved ones and are able to have longer, healthier lives," he said. "We still have that one out of three we need to take care of, so we still have a long way to go. Our goal is zero."
Gregory is the chairman of the 17th annual Relay for Life of Harrison County, which will take place overnight Friday at the CCHS track/football field.
The event consists of many activities throughout the night, such as a pie-eating contest, a bubble-blowing contest, a Frisbee-throwing tournament, an auction, a chicken dinner and a Monster Mash flash-mob dance at midnight.
"This year's theme was easy to decide. Relay is being held on Friday the 13th," Gregory said. "This year's theme is Friday the 13th, Halloween."
Attendees will sport costumes during certain events like the flash mob.
A traditional Luminaria Ceremony at 10 p.m. asks people to decorate lanterns, constructed of candles placed inside paper bags, to commemorate those diagnosed with cancer or those who have succumbed to any form of the disease.
There will also be a survivor lap at 6:30 p.m. around the track where longtime cancer survivors will lead the march, trailing to the most recent survivors.
"The survivor lap is one of the most important parts of Relay," Gregory said. "New survivors look to (longer) survivors ... to see that there is hope out there."
Last year's Relay pulled in $101,000, and Gregory said the goal for 2014 is $102,000.
"We will have about 35 teams and 300 people involved in this year's Relay," he said. "There are 11 of us on the committee."
Relay for Life takes about 10 months of planning, organizing and fundraisers prior to the actual event. So, teams continue to fundraise after the event ends.
Gregory said gathering funds is only one part of the night, and that the support of the community plays a vital role in Relay for Life.
The public is encouraged to attend Friday's events, especially the auction and chicken dinner.
To make a donation to Relay for Life or for other information, visit online at www.relayforlife.org/harrisoncounty.
The Relay event will conclude at 7:45 a.m. Saturday with a closing ceremony. (In case of inclement weather, the event will take place in the Corydon Central High School gymnasium.)