Planning begins for Hartselle's inaugural Relay for Life fundraiser
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Elaine Balch is calling on her community to help fight cancer.
The 2006 American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in Hartselle will be held Friday, May 12 beginning at 6 p.m. and ending Saturday, May 13 at 6 a.m. at E.A.R.T.H. Park.
Although the event itself won't take place for six months, Balch said there is much to do in preparing for Hartselle's very first Relay For Life.
"Lots of people are needed to plan this event," Balch explained. "The push right now is for committee members, which we are in desperate need of. But to anyone who even thinks they may want to help, I promise there will be a job for them to do."
The first 2006 Hartselle Relay For Life committee meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at The Depot. Meetings will continue once monthly until closer to the event, at which point the committee will meet more often. Anyone interested in volunteering their time and talents with the Relay For Life committee is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Hartselle's First Baptist Church will host the event's planning kick-off for team captains Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Light refreshments will be served and a program will be presented.
Balch, Hartselle High School guidance counselor, and Diedrah English are co-chairs of the team event to fight cancer.
"This is a first for Hartselle," Balch said. "Many people have participated in and are familiar with the Morgan County Relay For Life, but the American Cancer Society has believed for some time that Hartselle was ready to host its own event.
"It's a chance for more Hartselle churches, businesses, schools, clubs and families to get involved and show that Hartselle is concerned about the health of its people as related to cancer."
Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight activity that mobilizes communities across the country to celebrate survivorship, remember those who lost their lives to cancer, and raise money for the fight against cancer.
Teams, including business, church, family and club members and students, consist of approximately 10 members who raise money by walking, jogging or running at their own pace. This is an American Cancer Society signature activity.
Balch's family has participated in the Morgan County Relay For Life for more than a decade and has raised between $2,000 and nearly $5,000 annually for the American Cancer Society to fund vital cancer programs, education, research, advocacy programs and support programs.
"My family has a genetic marker for cancer," Balch explained. "My sister read about the Morgan County Relay For Life many years ago and thought our family should get involved."
In addition to participating as a team in the actual Relay event, Balch's family also holds an annual chicken stew sale each winter and a yard sale each spring to kick start their fundraising efforts. Last year they produced a family cookbook and have sold 350 copies. The cookbook was dedicated to Dr. James Griffith, the doctor who discovered and tirelessly traced the family's genetic marker for cancer.
"I'm sure everyone in Hartselle has been affected by cancer in some way," Balch said. "Relay For Life is making a difference."
Speakers are available for Hartselle civic groups, churches, businesses and schools to learn more about Hartselle's first Relay For Life event by calling Balch at 773-3633 or 355-5994.
For general Relay For Life information, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.
For 2006 Hartselle Relay For Life upcoming events, check the "Hartselle Happenings" in the Hartselle Enquirer.
The following committee positions need to be filled for the 2006 Hartselle Relay For Life event:
For information on how to volunteer, call Elaine Balch at 773-3363 or