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Relay for Life kicks off annual fund-raiser

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By Jeremy Evirs

It was a celebration of healing and life Thursday night at Capitol City Bank in Chiefland, where the American Cancer Society held its annual kick-off event for this year’s Relay for Life.

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Area Relay teams, American Cancer Society representatives and local cancer survivors gathered together for a night of fun, food, planning and stories of survival.

Local Junior Girl Scout Troop 307 was on hand to help set-up the event, which like the theme of this year’s Relay for Life, was titled ‘Race for the Cure’. The event began around 5:30, where participants took in a short, informative film and were introduced to the various dignitaries in attendance that night.

Area attorney Mark Feather was in attendance as Master of Ceremonies, while local realtor Jim Troke gave a stirring recollection of his battle with cancer and what the Relay means to him.

“When you get cancer,” Troke said “you join a club. Maybe not the club you wanted, but nonetheless, you have a new group of friends. Almost like a new family.”

Chiefland High School Seniors Zach Andrews and Taylor Carey were also in attendance. Both young men delivered moving speeches about their respective battles with cancer and the support they’ve found not only in the Relay for Life, but also in their families and the community.

Courtney Smith, who is the Area Director for the American Cancer Society announced that both young men are eligible for the R.O.C.K. Scholarship, a fund which was set up by the American Cancer Society to help young survivors like Zach and Taylor pay for their college tuitions.

The Chiefland Relay for Life is one of the most successful and longest running Relays in the state, having been a steadfast annual celebration for going on 15 years, and this year seems to hold the promise of another success.