Everything you need to know about Relay for Life, set for April 27

Cullman’s annual Relay for Life event is set for Saturday, April 27, from 5-10 p.m. at Depot Park. (Relay for Life Committee)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s Relay for Life event, one of the many pivotal fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, is set to bring the community together once again on Saturday, April 27, from 5-10 p.m. at Depot Park. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the event in Cullman, which first began in 1994.

Relay for Life is more than just a fundraising event; it is a crucial effort to support ongoing cancer research and provide essential services to patients. ” The funds raised are used for research and patient services. The American Cancer Society has helped make possible almost every major cancer breakthrough since 1946. Through the research financed by ACS and Relay, all of us benefit in the progress they have made to find ways to detect cancer in the early stages as well as in detection and treatments,” explained Helen Allen, event lead of Cullman County Relay for Life’s committee.

This year’s Relay for Life event promises an array of activities designed to celebrate life, commemorate survivors and support those fighting cancer. The event will kick off with an opening ceremony emceed by Tim Kelly. Following the opening ceremony, guest speaker Hannah Adams, a pediatric cancer survivor from Middleburg, Alabama, will serve as the opening speaker, followed by survivors sharing their diagnoses and the years of their journey as they begin their laps.

Attendees can look forward to live entertainment from Lee and Em, a variety of competitions including a lip-sync battle and numerous engaging activities at the team campsites. A “Kids Korner” will also be available to younger attendees that will feature a bounce house, slide and face paintings.

Campsites throughout the park will feature items for sale, enabling teams to fundraise. Additionally, campsites may offer raffle opportunities for attendees who wish to donate and possibly win special items. A unique quilt, crafted from Relay for Life shirts and contributed by Relay teams, will be raffled off to one fortunate donor who has received a ticket.

Building on last year’s success, a car show under the leadership of Jeff Harris will also be available to attendees and is still available to those who want to enter their vehicles. The show will feature a wide array of vehicles, appealing to car enthusiasts and spectators alike. Participants are encouraged to bring their vehicles and make a $15 donation to enter, with all proceeds supporting Relay for Life.

Food enthusiasts will enjoy a variety of offerings from local food trucks such as Da Big Italian, JJ’s West Coast Tacos, Alabama Mud Coffee, The Street Kitchen and Fro’z Shaved Ice.

A significant highlight of the Relay for Life event is the Survivor’s Celebration Lap, an emotional moment where cancer survivors share their stories and receive community support. “After our Survivor’s Dinner and the opening ceremonies, we have the Survivor’s Celebration Lap. First, they will give their names and the number of years they have been a survivor. Then they make a lap and we ask for those at the event to line the route and cheer them on. This is a very touching experience for all the survivors as well as the attendees at Relay, especially if you have been touched by a loved one who had cancer,” Allen said.

As the night comes to an end, the luminaria service will take place at 9. The service stands as one of the most poignant moments of the Relay for Life event. During this solemn ceremony, luminaria bags, each bearing a name, are lit in honor of those still fighting cancer and in memory of those who have passed.

Reflecting on the highlights of the event, Allen commented, “Both the Survivor’s Lap and the luminaria service are profoundly meaningful. They honor every survivor’s courageous fight against cancer and remember those who have lost their battles. While these moments bring excitement, they also provide a time for celebration, remembrance and renewed resolve to fight back.”

The event also includes a Survivor’s Breakfast on April 24, at 7 a.m. at Cullman Church of Christ. The Holly Pond Civitans have donated the food and will be serving the breakfast as they have for many years. The Survivor’s Dinner will take place on the day of the event at the Desperation Church building across from Depot Park at 5 p.m. All survivors are invited along with a guest. No RSVP is required.

For more information or to participate as a team or sponsor, those interested can visit the event’s website at relayforlife.org/cullmanal, or contact Helen Allen directly at 256-709-4019 or helenma1941@gmail.com.

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