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Ennis Daily News

Pulling for a cure

Relay for life ropes in a bundle for cancer research
The third annual Ennis Relay for Life shaped up nicely, contributing $82,000 to the American Cancer Society, according to the latest figure announced by chairman Judi Hejny during last weekend’s walkathon and camping event benefiting the cause of cancer research.“It’s amazing, and we are very excited,” said co-chair Amy Martinez. “Just last week we were at $72,000, and the full amount won’t be tabulated until August. So there’s still time to give.”
Giving was the order of the day –– and night –– at the 12-hour charity extravaganza that started at 6 p.m. and carried through till 6 a.m. at the Ennis Junior High stadium. Some 33 teams, representing a cross-section of Ennis companies, civic departments, service organizations and private individuals set up camp around the football field, sharing their pride, spirit, dedication and dollars.
An unofficial estimate of the crowd at around 8 p.m. was more than 700.
“There’s a greater turnout because we have 13 more teams than we did last year,” Martinez said, pleased by the numbers of participants and the fund-raising figures. “It’s the biggest and best we’ve had.”
After an official welcome and benediction, there were opening announcements and the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” as the flag was raised. Some 40 local cancer survivors took the first lap in the relay, led by David Slovak. As the survivors passed along the track –– some walking, others in wheelchairs, but each in their signature purple t-shirts –– team members and visitors applauded them from the sidelines and bleachers.
As team walking began, the roster of entertainments and games also started on the stage and at center field. The Encore Choir, the Encore dance troupe, the Lionettes, the EHS Band, and the Electric Slide band all performed throughout the evening.
The laps were coordinated by themes of dress –– among the most amusing was the “Crazy hair” lap in which all manner of wild hairstyles and wigs were seen up and down the track. One young woman wound her hair around various ornaments stacked on top of her head until it reached over two feet in height. Other laps were the Austin Powers, the Mardi Gras, Disney and Elvis laps.
At 9 p.m. the luminaria ceremony marked the emotional climax of the overnight program as nearly 1,000 candles were lit in containers marked with the names of cancer survivors and victims. These containers surrounded the track for nearly its entire length. Each name was read aloud by a series of speakers who also shared inspirational verse and thoughts. A procession of survivors was formed to bagpipe music after the ceremony, members and guests from each campsite falling into step behind them as they passed down the track.
The evening and early morning hours were rounded out with fun and games; some of the top crowd pleasers around midnight were a comedic talent show and a succession of high-energy tug-of-war competitions, each made up of various relay teams. Names of winners and sponsors were not available at press time but are forthcoming.

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Posted by on Apr 30 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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