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One Table brings people together

A new concept inspired the 2019 Franklin County Relay for Life event: One Table Community Picnic and Cancer Walk.

“This concept was all brand new to us,” said American Cancer Society Rep. Anna Duncan. “We wanted to visually represent a county all coming together as one.”

Cancer survivors, caregivers and Relay for Life teams gathered together May 3 at the Russellville High School gym to eat, fellowship and honor the survivors as well as those who have passed on.

Team leader Larry Dover welcomed everyone and provided information regarding the American Cancer Society. He explained ACS helps with research, education, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

To date, the ACS has raised about $450 million to go toward research, and recent breakthroughs in research can be traced back to the ACS.

Dover highlighted other progress as well: the United States’ cancer death rate has decreased by 23 percent since 1991.

Every cancer survivor at the One Table picnic received a T-shirt and a medal before completing the cancer survivor walk around the gym. Caregivers were honored as well and were asked to join their loved ones in a lap around the gym.

“Our Relay for Life this year is in memory of a very special man: Mr. Joey Oden,” said Duncan. “He served faithfully and was one of a kind.”

All of the team captains were asked to come to the front and introduce themselves and then participate in their own walk.

The Luminary Ceremony concluded the event. Paper bag luminaries were emblazoned with the names of loved ones who had cancer. Some people even adorned the bags with pictures of their loved ones. Glow sticks were activated and placed in the bags as the lights were turned off, and a glowing trail surrounded the gym floor as Milford “Mousey” Brown read the Luminary message and the Russellville A Cappella group sang in honor of the moment.

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