Long before cancer was an acceptable topic to talk about, one organization was advocating and supporting cancer patients, treatment, and research. The American Cancer Society began in 1913 and continues today to help those with any type of cancer. One of their big fundraisers, Relay for Life, is being held this weekend in Evansville. Ryan Bixler-Rigg, the Executive Director of the Southern Indiana American Cancer Society, joined us Thursday to talk about it.
Shelley Kirk: The event has been around for years. What's going to be different this year?
Ryan Bixler-Rigg: First of all we have moved the event to Bethel UCC on North Green River Rd. It's a great church. They've been really helpful for us to get everything ready. If it's a nice day, we'll have a really nice grass area behind the church. If it is bad weather, we'll be able to move indoors. So rain or shine, we'll be able to relay.
SK: So you're taken care of either way. Now, the American Cancer Society helps people with all cancers. It doesn't just focus on one. So you're going to have a special event this year focused on childhood cancer.
RR: So one of the things that's really super cool. Shoe Carnival has been selling shoe laces called Princess Lacey's Laces and the sale of those laces, they have raised over $328,000 for pediatric cancer. So that's super... a lot of people don't realize the American Cancer Society funds all types of cancer. So at 7 o'clock we're going to do a special childhood lap. A local, young boy will be there to elad the lap, who's a childhood cancer survivor. We're really proud to have Nolan come out to do that. Shoe Carnival will be there to do a check presentation.
SK: Cancer affects all of us but childhood cancer really touches all of us. We see that and want to help. What's the mission for Relay for Life. What do you want to get out of it?
RR: Relay for Life is a way for cancer survivors, people who have lost someone – to come together and fight cancer in the community. We have fun, we have games. But it's also a very meaningful thing. At 10 we have a ceremony in honor of somebody currently battling cancer, someone who's won their battle, or in memory of someone who has lost their battle. It's an extremely moving ceremony.
SK: There's something about hearing that name that is so moving. It's free to attend right?
RR: Absolutely. Even if you haven't been on a team or registered, you can still come out. It's open to anybody. We don't charge a registration fee because we don't want people to feel like we've got 5-6 kids and we don't want to pay for everybody. If you want to come out and give a dollar, have a good time, support someone who is fighting cancer.
SK: So let's give people the specifics on Saturday night.
RR: So it's 4 – 11 p.m. and it's at Bethel UCC across the street from Meijer, Menard's, that area. You don't have to pre-register. Just join us and have a good time.
SK: Best of luck with the relay. I'm going to try to make it out. It is a lot of fun and it is a lot of fun as well. And thank you to the folks at the American Cancer Society. Certainly appreciate you.