"Passport to a Cure" is this year's theme for the 2008 American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Polk County.
The eighth annual race is Friday and Saturday, May 16-17, from 6 p.m. to noon at Dallas High School's Gallaspy Field.
"Trying to describe what Relay For Life is like compares to describing the Grand Canyon to someone who has never seen it in person -- it can't be done," said Rick Bennett, who is completing his fourth year as event chair.
"Relay is an experience that will change your life. It doesn't matter if you are a cancer survivor, the friend or relative of a survivor, a person who has lost someone to cancer, or one of the fortunate minority who has yet to be touched by cancer. It's something you need to experience and be part of."
Added Bennett: "I invite all of our communities to come and be part of this effort and support the 29 teams who will spend 18 hours walking the track. See the field covered in camping sites and the hundreds of people who participate. It is amazing to see the event at its best."
Opening ceremony for the Relay begins at 6 p.m. Friday and is followed by the Survivor Recognition and Celebration Lap. As the survivors continue around the track there will be team introductions and the Parade of Batons. Closing ceremony is at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Speaking during the opening ceremony is Shelley Blaine Reimer, who will share her story of why she got involved in Relay for Life and how she and other area swimmers completed 76,000 yards on May 10 to raise funds for this year's event.
A unique part of the event is the Luminaria Ceremony of Hope that begins at 10 p.m. Friday. Decorated luminaria bags encircle the track and glow through the night in honor of or in memory of those who have been touched by cancer along with the word "hope" illuminated in the bleachers.
Silent auctions are scheduled throughout the event. Come and bid on items Friday from 5 to 6:45 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m. and 8:15 to 9:30 p.m., as well as Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. All money raised benefits the Relay.
The Relay Gear Store will be open during the event and those wanting luminaries (donations accepted) can do so from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Gear/Luminaria tent on the field.
Schedule of Events
Friday, May 16
4 p.m. -- Registration
5 p.m. -- Relay Gear Store opens; silent auction begins; luminaria donations and decorations begin.
6 p.m. -- Opening Ceremony
6:20 p.m. (approx. time) -- Survivor Recognition and Celebration Lap
6:40 p.m. -- Team introductions and Parade of Batons
7 p.m. -- Music by Haris Blackwood
9 p.m. -- Music by Penny Cox
10 p.m. -- Luminaria Ceremony of Hope
Saturday, May 17
Midnight -- Midnight Movie Madness, pizza and popcorn
8 a.m. -- Relay Scavenger Hunt
8:30 a.m. -- Silent auction begins
10 a.m. -- Music by Haris Blackwood
11:30 a.m. -- Closing Ceremonies
Noon -- Relay ends
Sponsors of this year's Relay for Life of Polk County are: The Polk County Association of Realtors (PCAR), Oak Knoll Ladies Club, Forest Capital Partners LLC, Wal-Mart, Meduri Farms, Farnstrom Mortuaries, Bollman Funeral Home, Sunflower Barn, Dutch Bros., Dallas Family Medicine LLC, Polk County Itemizer-Observer, Central Lions Club, Curves of Dallas, Dalton Rock, Dallas Pill Box, Evanite Fiber Corporation, Flaming Medical Center, Grandma's Attic, Independence Elks Lodge, J D McGee Inc., Key Events, Marr Bros. Inc., State Farm Insurance -- Mike Eckman, Monmouth Fitness, North Dallas Bar & Grill, Oregon First Community Credit Union, Siletz Trucking Co., Sterling Savings Bank, Totten Sound Production, West Valley Hospital, White's Collision Service, Royal Flush, and Abby's Pizza.