Twin Cities Relay for Life shortened due to storms

Twin Cities Relay for Life shortened due to storms

By: Casey Curlin, Special to The Messenger

By CASEY CURLIN Special to The Messenger The Fulton-South Fulton annual Relay for Life was called on account of rain Friday night. The outdoor fund-raising event for cancer research that began at 6 p.m. at Pontotoc Park in Fulton was canceled early as a result of heavy rain and thunderstorms that hit the area around 8 that evening. The events that were scheduled to run until the following morning were interrupted when lightning struck nearby and people were instructed to enter the Pontotoc Community Center for safety. A torrential downpour of rain and frequent close lightning followed just minutes later. A power outage solidified the decision to call off the event, according to Pam Whittemore, an American Cancer Society representative. Fortunately, the inclement weather came after the opening ceremonies and survivor walk, where each of the 45 cancer survivors in attendance made a walk around the relay track, lined with luminaries. Each survivor received a survivor’s medal and three honorary survivors — Brittany Williams, T.J. Howard and Teeny Greer — led the walk with a banner that read “Fight Back.” Pontotoc Park was lined with the tents of participating teams, which sold things such as cakes, pies, ribeye sandwiches and homemade ice cream. The teams included Fulton City Y Club & Teachers, Fulton Pic-Pac, Heritage Bank, Letica Corp., Reelfoot Bank, South Fulton Antioch Baptist Church, South Fulton Baptist Church and Trinity Episcopal Church. A live auction directed by auctioneer Richard Slack was also successful until it was interrupted by the storm. Many local businesses and individuals donated items such as gift certificates, home décor items, jewelry and tools for the cause. A luminary ceremony that was scheduled to take place at 9 p.m. will be rescheduled sometime before Aug. 31 in respect for the many people who paid for them and the individuals they are in memory or honor of, according to Rebecca Turner, the Fulton-South Fulton Relay for Life chairman. Although the final total of how much money was raised is still unknown, Ms. Turner is hopeful. “Luminary sales are always the biggest money maker and we sold a ton of those,” she said. “We plan this event a year in advance and there is no way to know what the weather is going to do. We take a chance having it in June, but we do all we can do and make what we make,” she added. Editor’s note: Casey Curlin, a Fulton native, is a communications major at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Published in The Messenger 6.16.08

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