Kickoff gets Relay to its feet

RANSON — For Donna Harrison, last year’s lap by cancer survivors around the gymnasium at Charles Town Middle School was one of the most heartfelt experiences she can recall.

“It’s an emotional lap for a lot of people,” said Harrison, who, along with Charity Hopkins and Lindy Ybarra, serves as co-event chair of the 2013 Relay for Life of Jefferson County, which kicked off over the weekend in the Ranson Civic Center.

This year’s organizers hope to best last year’s efforts, when 50 Relay teams raised and donated more than $112,000 to the American Cancer Society. This year’s Relay walk will be held June 22 and 23.

Nicole Johnson of Charles Town serves chili to Justice Kennedy,10, during Saturday’s Relay for Life fundraiser kickoff at theRanson Civic Center.

Nicole Johnson of Charles Town serves chili to Justice Kennedy,
10, during Saturday’s Relay for Life fundraiser kickoff at the
Ranson Civic Center.

Like last year, this year’s walk will begin in the late afternoon and last through the night until sunrise the next day on the outdoor track at Charles Town Middle. Harrison said participants can walk several miles as part of the event.

“It’s a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people,” Harrison said. “Last year, when that sun started rising, it was like everything had a whole new meaning.”

Last weekend’s kickoff gathering was an opportunity for organizers to begin to raise funds for the walk, but it also served as a chance to lobby for passage of new laws to cancer prevention.

Dan and Linda Hart manned a table at the Civic Center to garner interest in bringing two bills to the state Legislature — one that would increase taxes on cigarettes, and another that would disallow young people from using tanning beds.

Relay for Life will hold team meetings ahead of this year’s event on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in Charles Town Presbyterian Church, 220 E. Washington St., Charles Town.

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