Relay for Life may look different this year

Tents will be located at new areas of the WHHS practice field.

The new irrigation system installed at the Wade Hampton High School track/football practice field will create a different experience for those attending the 2017 Hampton County Relay for Life event Friday night. The annual event raises money for cancer research and is highlighted each year by a Survivor’s Walk and a Luminary event.

This year, 26 teams will participate in the event. Although many of the teams which traditionally raise large amounts of donations for Relay will participate, including the Bosom Buddies and the Hampton Regional Medical Center team, several new teams have stepped up and raised money to fund cancer research programs which provide direct support to families of loved ones battling cancer.

 “It’s not all going to a room full of scientists,” said event organizer Christy Hurd. “The funding  helps the everyday lives of patients.”

Relay organizers hope to raise $100,000 this year and the organization is slightly ahead of schedule. Individuals do not have to be members of a team to donate to Relay. Donations of any amount or the purchase of a Luminary display can be made by logging onto the Relay for Life website.

According to Hurd, Friday’s Relay will feature all of the events and activities those attending Relay have come to love, and more, but will look drastically different this year due to the inability to stake tents on the field. This year there will be no food vendors at the event; all other vendors that you have grown to expect will be present but will be located in different areas of the track complex.

She stated event organizers hope the new tent/vendor arrangement will create a more “user friendly” Relay for participants and the general public.

Hurd, who is not a cancer survivor but possesses a tremendous amount of passion for cancer research and eradication after the loss of a dear friend to cancer at the age of 12, will act as the event’s lead organizer for the last time this Friday. She stated she will still be highly involved in Hampton County Relay for Life, but feels her departure will create new ideas and keep the event fresh and produce increased involvement and funding to help fight the disease.

As well as the general public and Relay teams, all area schools raise money to be donated to Relay throughout the school year. Last year, Varnville Elementary topped the list of local school donors by raising $3,000. A large portion of those funds come from Dress Down days held at the schools, in which students pay to wear non-uniform clothes to school.

Although Hurd will be stepping down as event organizer next year, she stated she has fond memories of the long days and late nights helping set up the event.

“It’s worth it. It’s exhausting mentally and physically, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Hurd.