The American Cancer Society will host the annual Relay For Life event at 6 p.m. on Friday at Huff Park in Harlan. It will end at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
The presentation of the flag by the Holy Trinity Cub Scout Pack 149 will open the ceremonies. Deric Jeffers will lead everyone in the National Anthem.
Steve Tolliver, Bank of Harlan president, will be the guest speaker.
Teams will be introduced and presented with awards. At 7 p.m., a survivor recognition ceremony will be held with Miss Harlan County escorting cancer survivors and fighters. Immediately following will be the opening survivor/caregiver lap around Huff Park escorted by members of the Harlan High School football team. A parade of teams will follow.
“I have been involved in the Relay For Life since 2009,” said Phyllis Napier, Harlan County Relay For Life chair. “This is my second year as the county chair.”
Napier said she became involved in Relay For Life due to her father being diagnosed with prostate cancer and staying free of charge at the Hope Lodge in Lexington for six weeks while he had his treatments.
“They were so good to my father during this time,” said Napier. “I just wanted to give back to the American Cancer Society. I’m happy to say that today my dad is winning his fight.”
During this year’s event, there will be music from the Tony Dean Family, Deric Jeffers, Lawanna Blevins, Jeffrey Shayne and Brooklyn Collins.
There will also be live music from DJ Mark Lawson with Maximum Sound Studio.
“Brandon Robinson, meteorologist from WYMT, will emcee the event for us,” said Napier. “We have free inflatables from Sander’s Bounce House from 7:30 p.m. until midnight. D&D Kustomz will do airbrush tattoos with all proceeds going to Relay For Life. There will be an exhibition by Flips and Flops Gymnastics and a puppet show by the First Baptist Church of Loyall. There will also be free games from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. courtesy of the Harlan County 4-H Extension Service. It’s a fun-filled event and we hope everyone will make plans to join us.”
Napier said the American Cancer Society spends millions of dollars each year to fund research to help find a cure for cancer. She said through this research “people are living longer and treatments are becoming more successful.”
“Our Luminaria Ceremony will begin at 11 p.m. and bags may be purchased at the event in honor of survivors/fighters or in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer,” said Napier. “It’s such a serene ceremony — filled with a lot of emotion. We encourage everyone to come out and show their support for families and loved ones who have had or have someone battling cancer.”
Another highlight of the event is the “Dude Looks Like a Lady Pageant” held each year at 11:30 p.m.
“Everyone enjoys this tremendously,” said Napier. “It’s a time to laugh and have a good time. We always have a great show of support from the men participating in the event. We just hope everyone will stop by and visit one of the 21 teams participating this year and give them a donation and enjoy some great food and cold drinks.”
Roxanne Miller, community representative with the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society, said a mini-Relay For Life will be held in Cumberland on the campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“A mini-Relay For Life has all the main components a Relay For Life event has, which include an opening ceremony, survivor recognition and lap, entertainment, team booths, veterans recognition and lap, luminaria ceremony and a closing ceremony,” said Miller. “Everyone from Harlan County and the surrounding counties are welcome to join us at either or both of the events.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org