Bourbon County participated in the nationwide and even international Relay for Life event Saturday evening at the Fort Scott Community College, raising more than $20,000 locally for the American Cancer Society.
“This is an amazing gathering,” organizer Allison Daly said in the opening ceremony, saying the reason they come is to finish the fight against cancer by remembering cancer victims, celebrating the survivors and thanking caregivers.
The event began with guest speaker Patsy Smith, a Fort Scott native and fifth-year cancer survivor , despite her diagnosis of a rare cancer in her appendix.
“I’m really feeling very blessed to be here,” Smith said, adding she was especially pleased when she learned they would honor caregivers as well as those with cancer. “Through this journey, that is both physical and mental, I have never walked alone.”
Smith said cancer is a disease that affects entire families, not just the individual, and it takes that family or a strong support group to help the victim both physically through the cancer treatment as well as mentally when they become discouraged.
The relay kicked off with a cannon fired by Velocity Tactics and then a lap for the survivors followed by a lap honoring those caregivers.
Local businesses, organizations and families formed teams to raise money and participate in the overnight relay event, including FSCC, Mercy Hospital, Future Farmers of America, FirstSource and area churches among others. The groups also sold food items, raffle tickets or other items around the track to continue to raise funding.
Other festivities included bounce houses, a luminary ceremony, performance by Signing of the Divine and music provided by a DJ. Calendars are also for sale.