Charlotte Blacknall (with walker) passes through the Relay Arch Saturday during the annual Franklin/Southampton Relay for Life. Blacknall a nine-year cancer survivor and has participated in the event for the past six years. Pictured are, from left, Barbara Harris, caretaker for Mrs. Blacknall, Charlotte Blacknall, Ida and Rev. Richard Powell, Donald Murell, and back row waving, Delma Murell. -- FRANK A. DAVIS/TIDEWATER NEWS
Charlotte Blacknall (with walker) passes through the Relay Arch Saturday during the annual Franklin/Southampton Relay for Life. Blacknall a nine-year cancer survivor and has participated in the event for the past six years. Pictured are, from left, Barbara Harris, caretaker for Mrs. Blacknall, Charlotte Blacknall, Ida and Rev. Richard Powell, Donald Murell, and back row waving, Delma Murell. -- FRANK A. DAVIS/TIDEWATER NEWS

Archived Story

Franklin, Southampton Relay for Life a success

Published 10:58am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

COURTLAND—Under clear skies the Franklin/Southampton Relay for Life event changed locations this year, which worked out well, according to organizers. Held Saturday through Sunday morning at Southampton High School, the event was themed “Wish Upon a Cure”.

Relayer Holly Giles, a former Relay team member back when the event was held overnight, came out this year to participate overnight with her daughter Grayson, who is a member of the SHS Keys 4a Cure Relay team.

She said, “Several years ago a small group sacrificed comfort spending the night at the Armory Field to make Relay for Life a 24-hour event. This year, many volunteers, committee members, Relay team members sacrificed sleep in honor and memory of the many touched by cancer and the survivors. Instead of sleeping, there was walking, s’mores, pageantry, dancing, donuts, coffee, very little rest but fun, laughter and memories to cherish.”

Event chair Shellie McHenry added, “Following last year’s tromp through the mud, the sunny weather was a much welcome change to this year’s Relay.”

She continued, “The turnout was fabulous. All feedback for moving to the new venue at Southampton High School was positive. The teams had much larger campsites and the track was filled with walkers all through the day and night. Many walkers were excited to announce how many laps they had made. This was a new twist to Relay, I guess because having an ‘official’ track allowed them to know exactly how far they had walked for the cause.”

McHenry said $10,100 was raised on Saturday, bringing the team’s overall total to $100,753. However, the campaign doesn’t end until August 31, and as teams continue to raise money the numbers will go up.

The event began at 10 a.m. with the Survivor’s Lap, with activities throughout the day and night. The Luminary Ceremony took place at 8 p.m. and the Fight Back ceremony was held at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. For the Luminaria, 1,330 luminary candles and 124 tiki torches were lit in honor of those fighting cancer and in memory to those who have died

McHenry said, “Preceding the Luminary awards, the two annual awards presented by the Franklin/Southampton Relay for Life were given. The Pete Clark Relay Award is given to an organization that dedicates itself in service to our local Relay. This year’s recipient was Boy Scout Troop 17. The Chester Burgess Spirit of Relay for Life award is given to individuals that exemplify the ideas of Relay for Life. This year three long-standing volunteers received this honor — E.B. Knight, Ken Gay and Iola Gay.”

Jason McHenry, Shellie’s husband ran the concessions throughout the day and night, and spoke to many different people. He said, Relay teams saw the new venue as having ‘room for growth.’ They liked the fact they had more room to make it a family event. As one woman said to me, she thought it showed a vision of what could be rather than what is.”

He said that some employees from Walgreens visited the event and are eager to start a new Relay team for next year. “Their comment was that using the school, with all the administrative and facility support from the school truly showed this was a community event, he recalled.

New this year was a Pajama Fashion Show at midnight. Many young people participated and organizers hope it will become a long-standing addition to Relay.

Jason McHenry said that a couple came back to walk during the PJ fashion show and emphasized to him “it is a warm Saturday night and these kids found it more important to support this cause than to be out doing something stupid”.

  • momobest

    I am an adult member of the Southampton High School Keys For a Cure team. I am so proud of the teams from Southampton High School and Southampton Middle School. Both teams had “relayers” walking the track all day and all night.

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