Kara Zimmer and Melissa Hogan recently sat down to talk about Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature worldwide fundraising event, which will take place at Clarksville’s Kenwood High School May 19 from noon to 10 p.m. Zimmer and Hogan were both personally affected by cancer, and now they are volunteers who have been very active in organizing this year’s Relay for Life. “Relay is a long-standing tradition in Clarksville,” Zimmer said. “But attendance has dwindled in recent years. Last year we raised about $50,000. This year, we have a new committee that is highly motivated, and we have set a lofty goal. We are going at this full swing, and we need the community’s help.” Hogan says the best way to get involved is to search for Relay for Life Clarksville, Tennessee. Click on the first link, then click on ‘Join this Relay.’ “A team can be two people or it can be 100 or more,” Hogan said. “This is open to friends, families, sports teams, co-workers, church groups, any type of group, and it’s a great team- building exercise. Teams may hold events throughout the season, and then on event day they can set up a table or booth. It’s a great opportunity to get together, have fun, and celebrate life while raising money for a great cause.”
The Relay for Life committee has really focused on continually improving this event. “We decided to try a new, more centralized location this year, and we’ve moved the event to a Saturday to make it more family-friendly,” Zimmer said. “The ‘Relay’ is actually a walk and anyone may participate. Admission is free. Everyone comes together for a night of fun that celebrates cancer survivorship, memorializes loved ones lost to cancer, and helps fightagainst the disease.” Zimmer says this year’s event will feature the Clarksville Zombie Hunters, Montgomery County Antique Tractor and Engine Club, face painting, a special tent for Survivors, live music by local duo High Society, a DJ playing throughout the day and night, a yoga area, a bouncy house, food trucks, and much more. Teams may raise money in many ways. The website makes suggestions, but the possibilities are endless. Some do face painting, some sell baked goods, and some sell items that promote cancer awareness like breast cancer pins. And, rest assured, Relay for Life always has lots of great food. “We really want this to be a family-friendly event that everyone will enjoy while celebrating our survivors, caregivers, and those we’ve lost,” Zimmer said.”We will open with a survivor lap, then a caregiver lap, and at dusk there will be a remembrance/luminary ceremony, at which time a silent lap is taken. Luminaries are available for purchase now for $5.” Montgomery County, Tennessee Relay for Life is always looking for volunteers for the committee and to help on event day. Local corporate and business sponsorships are welcome as well. Survivors and team members are encouraged to register now to make sure they get t-shirts. Survivors automatically get t-shirts for the survivor lap, and registered team members get a t-shirt when they each raise $100. Find them on Facebook at “Montgomery County TN Relay For Life” or contact Jenny Goslin, American Cancer Society Community Representative at (615) 341-7328.