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Ennis Daily News

Relay for Life 2008: An ‘awesome’ event

Biggest turn-out, turnover in history of local cancer benefit
The 4th Annual Ennis Relay For Life benefit was literally an overnight success this weekend with record numbers in attendance and more teams than have ever joined the local effort of the American Cancer Society’s official fundraising arm.
With more than $104,000 raised by latest count, including some $17,000 in sponsorship money, Friday night’s 12-hour Relay for Life marathon and camping event that took place along the track at the Ennis Junior High Stadium saw over 50 teams set up, and more than 1,200 names of cancer victims and survivors read during the candlelit “Luminaria” ceremony. Participation in individual teams and in the memorial program is among the most popular aspect of Ennis Relay and interest continues growing; last year there were 800 luminaria names and 33 teams.
“It was an awesome relay,” said Event Chair Amy Martinez. “This was a spectacular year for Ennis Relay and now we have to top it next year!”
Relay Secretary Kathryn Bunting agreed.
In an email thanking fellow committee members and teams for ensuring “a wonderful relay,” Bunting echoed Martinez’s enthusiasm.
“God is so good to have placed together a great team,” she said. “I loved watching as everyone was enjoying themselves, laughing at each other as well as crying at those tender moments. The relayers were so in tune with the activities.”
The night was a hit, despite a cold wind that had some participants wrapping themselves in blankets as they walked around the track.
Emcee for the occasion was Chad Wester, and entertainment throughout the event that started at 6 p.m. and ran through 6 a.m. included concerts by Ennis Encore Choir, Little Czechadees, Go Academy dancers, John Mensik, David Trojacek, David Slovak and Hide Fox and After All.
Ennis Relay opened with a welcome by Martinez and a prayer by Mayor Pro-tem Bob Taylor, followed by a presentation of colors and flag raising by Ennis-area Girl Scouts.
The first lap of the marathon was walked by local cancer survivors, identified by their purple t-shirts.
As they circled the track, their names were announced over speakers from the stage set up in the center of the field.
The emotional segment of the evening, the Luminaria ceremony, involved the lowering of strobes around the track and the lighting of candle-lit bags marked with names of persons lost to cancer, those who have survived the disease and people who are currently struggling with it. A reading of the names accompanied the lighting of the luminaria bags.
The rest of the night was considerably more upbeat with talent shows, a tug of war contest, and refreshments such as pizza supplied by Dominoes and coffee from Starbucks.
Themed relay laps were also a source of fun; there was a 1950s round and laps devoted to super heroes, Mardi Gras, etc.
A highlight of the evening was a cross-dressing competition called “Mr. Relay” in which male members of teams donned feminine finery and did their best to live up to the costumes.
The overall winner was Gil Escobar of the Ennis State Bank team.

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Posted by on Apr 28 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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