By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer
Relay For Life organizers hope that a silent skit will pump people up to help raise money to fight cancer.
“It’s a short skit with no words — but there’s no words needed to really get the full scope of how cancer can affect someone and how Relay For Life can uplift them,” said Event Chair Melissa McLain.
The Relay For Life Kickoff rally will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Roxy Theater, with a special skit by local youth about cancer.
The entire event, which features teams fundraising from now until May, benefits the American Cancer Society.
On May 3, all the teams will stay overnight at Muskogee’s Indian Bowl for the big finale. The “campout” is partly to symbolize the way cancer patients feel as they go through chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“When you start out, you’re kind of energetic — but throughout the night, like the treatment, you get exhausted, worn down and don’t have much energy left,” McLain said. “But, as the morning comes you begin to re-energize because you know you can go home and sleep soon, just as a person getting chemotherapy knows the treatment is almost over.”
The American Cancer Society provides many services locally, including wigs, counseling services and drivers to take patients to their doctor’s appointments.
“And that’s just a few of the many services the American Cancer Society provides,” McLain said. “And the money we raise with Relay for Life is how we fund those services.”
Melissa Thompson, team captain of the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Department and Muskogee County/City Detention Facility team, is glad the majority of the money raised at the May event goes to assisting Muskogee County cancer patients, and the rest goes to research.
“It’s very important to me,” she said. “I have had several family members we have lost due to cancer, and I myself have had cancer.”
McLain said Thompson’s team was the top raising “rookie team” last year.
Thompson said the team did fundraisers with local restaurants and more but plans to sell T-shirts as well this year.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: American Cancer Society Relay For Life Kickoff Rally.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
WHERE: Roxy Theater, 220 W. Okmulgee Ave.
INFORMATION: (918) 781-9864, muskogeerelay
@gmail.com or www.relayforlife.org/muskogeecook.