South Shelby Relay for Life set for May 20

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Survivors walk the first lap at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Columbiana. (Contributed)

Survivors walk the first lap at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Columbiana. (Contributed)

By JENNIFER MAIER / Community Columnist

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life South Shelby will take place Friday, May 20 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Columbiana Sports Complex.

The event serves as an opportunity for the community to come together to show loved ones that there are people who will not rest until cancer is eradicated.

“Our fundraising goal this year is $60,000,” said Linda Wren, one of the event organizers. “The overall total raised since the first relay in Columbiana is $919,301.87. We’ve come a long way since raising $11,555.30 in 2000. Contributions are as small as a $5 luminaria as a glowing tribute to someone that’s been affected by cancer to businesses that support The American Cancer Society with hundreds or thousands of dollars.”

Efforts to raise money go on year round.

“The relay event is the culmination of months of hard work and fundraising in honor of cancer survivors or in memory of those whose battle ended here on Earth,” said Nena Goode, who is media chair for this year’s event.

“All those affected by cancer know that cancer never sleeps, whether they were diagnosed themselves or have watched a loved one receive the Earth-shattering news and then begin the long road of treatments and other options,” she said.

Goode knows all too well how devastating a cancer diagnosis is to receive. She was diagnosed in 2013 with stage 2B invasive ductile breast cancer. She said she is thankful for the great strides that have been made in understanding the disease, but there is more that needs to be done to get ahead of the spread of cancer.

“Without Relay for Life’s fundraising opportunities, the American Cancer Society would not be able to fund the research necessary to find better treatment options and preventative methods,” said Goode, pointing out that 26,150 new cancer cases were reported in Alabama alone in 2015.

To donate or to sign up to participate in this year’s event, go to or on Facebook under Relay for Life of South Shelby and click on the sign-up button. Wren said to also be on the lookout for fundraisers taking place prior to the event, or by donating at the relay event on the 20th.

Teams will have booths set up the night of the event, and some will be selling items to raise additional money. Participants can choose to walk laps to show support to the teams.

“There will be different laps, usually on the hour, to honor survivors, caregivers and in memory of loved ones lost to cancer,” Goode explained. “Some laps have themes and are fun, others are more solemn.”

Each lap truly makes a difference in the life of a survivor or caregiver.

“For those of us who know just how horrible a cancer diagnosis is, we too want this disease stopped as soon as possible,” said Goode. “By us participating and fundraising, we are encouraging others and showing that we can make a difference and will one day see an end to cancer.”

Wren said that this year’s event planning committee consists of about a dozen individuals volunteering their time and expertise to make this the best relay ever. The volunteers consist of cancer survivors and caregivers.

For information about teams or the relay in general contact Linda Wren at For sponsorship contact Jessica Kuehner at For luminaria information contact Charlene Tucker at or American Cancer Society Community Manager Melissa Pockman at