Luau for a Cure Saturday

Times Herald File Photo The Daviess County Relay for Life will return to Lena Dunn Elementary Saturday. The luminary ceremony, pictured here from last year’s event, will begin at 9:45 p.m.

It’s a busy week for Billy Cox. That’s because he is gearing up the the Daviess County Relay for Life Saturday at Lena Dunn Elementary.

The 2019 Relay for Life festivities will kick off today with the Survivor Dinner that will take place at Harvest Community Fellowship Church this evening.

Following the dinner, Cox has planned to take a vacation from his job to prepare for Saturday’s Relay events that officially begin at 4 p.m. with the opening ceremony.

“Our goal for this year is $30,000,” said Cox, who said $12,000 has been turned in so far and several fundraisers will take place during the Relay that begins at 4 p.m. at the elementary school located in the west end. “Our theme this year is Luau for a Cure.”

Luminaries can be purchased in honor of family members Saturday from Andrea Tomey’s tent for $10 each. Those will be lit at the evening’s luminary service at 9:45 p.m. Each of the nine participating teams will also host an onsite fundraiser, only one of which, a walking taco stand, has been announced.

“Everyone is welcome to attend,” said Cox, who said the event is open to the public and in case of rain, will take place in the Lena Dunn gymnasium instead of the track.

Once the opening ceremonies are complete, participating cancer survivor’s will take to the track for the annual survivor lap around 4:30 p.m. The team lap will take place around 4:45 p.m. Walking will continue throughout the evening until the luminary service. A silent auction will take place between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with items including a one-night stay at French Lick and two tickets to Big Splash Adventure, four tickets to Holiday World, home decor and much more.

Relay isn’t just for Daviess County residents

Unfortunately, in more recent years, Martin County was unable to maintain the success its organizers had experienced for over more than a decade, so a separate Relay For Life event will not be held as it once was.

A couple of years ago, Daviess and Martin Counties joined forces for a Daviess-Martin Relay but the event was discontinued the following year. Lack of a Relay for Life event doesn’t mean residents can’t participate though.

Cox said anyone, from any county, who wants to contribute to the cause is welcome to make donations.

In Martin County, those wishing to make a donation to the Daviess County Relay for Life can do so through Clara Smith.

“Billy is really good at tagging the Martin County donations, and he even invites our survivors to the Daviess County Survivor Dinner,” said Smith who said the former Martin County organizers have gotten older and less able to manage the event.

Smith said if anyone from a younger generation is interested in getting the event started again, she has all the materials and would be happy to pass on the torch. The lack of a Relay event also doesn’t mean Martin County families living through a cancer diagnosis battle alone either.

Those who need assistance with medical bills, Smith said, can contact about organizing a community fundraiser.

Smith said that for a person to be willing to put the time and effort into successfully organizing the event, a person almost has to have had a personal cancer experience.

Smith lived through 13 years of cancer between the battles her late husband, Ronnie Smith, and each of her parents fought.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or get more information in regard to spearheading the Martin County Relay For Life can contact Smith at 812-631-1860. Martin County residents, as well as residents of any county that does not host a Relay For Life event are welcome to attend the Daviess County event to honor their loved ones whose lives have been touched by cancer. Those with questions can contact Cox at 619-630-3888.

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