Cancer survivors and their supporters walked laps around Kentucky State University's Exum Center this weekend during the annual Franklin County Relay For Life
The Saturday night event began with teams having raised more than $67,000 for the American Cancer Society. The final estimate from money raised this year won't be official for at least another week, said Relay For Life co-chair Stacey Warnecke. During the event, she said that the turnout was great and that using the Exum Center for the event was "fabulous." Previously, Relay For Life had been held at Franklin County High School and the Frankfort Convention Center.
"I think most people who come to this event have been impacted by cancer, either personally or with a friend or family member," Warnecke said.
Warnecke said that a core group of about 15 volunteers prepare for Relay For Life. Frankfort Police officers also helped with setting up for the event on Saturday, she said. Both she and co-chair Bethany Patton said the event would not be possible without the support of sponsors and the efforts of teams who fundraised leading up to and during the event.
About 19 teams set up a table at Relay For Life. According to the event's website, 25 teams participated in the fundraiser in some capacity. Teams each had their own activity or item for sale that Relay For Life attendees could buy to support the team's fundraiser.
A little after 5 p.m., cancer survivors present made the initial walk around the gym. They were followed by caregivers and fundraising team members. Participants could continue to walk around the track, which was surrounded by teams' tables. At the end of the event, Relay For Life held a luminaria ceremony, which honored loved ones who passed away from cancer.
Kathy Bailey, who was the team captain of One in Three Three in Nine Plus One, has been involved with Relay For Life since 1990, when her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Bailey's mother died the following year. Her team name comes from a statistic that says nearly 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, Bailey has had three of nine relatives who have passed away due to cancer, and the one represents Bailey's brother who was recently diagnosed with a form of cancer.
Bailey served on Relay For Life's leadership team this year and continues to encourage her family and friends to support the cause. Cancer affects almost everyone in some way and Relay For Life makes a difference, she said. Bailey's daughter Laura helped with the team's booth during the night, running games for kids like picking a lucky duck or rolling a dice to win a prize.
"This is a mission for me. I want to do away with cancer," Bailey said. "I don't want my grandkids to even know what it is."