Buffalo Island Relay for Life raises over $45,000

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
The first lap of the all night Buffalo Island Relay for Life was taken by cancer survivors. This year's honorary survivors were John Moore, Jr., Lavern Grooms, Glendene Rogers, Mary Barnes, Johnny Williams and Brenda Adcock.

The second annual American Cancer Relay for Life raised a little over $45,000 exceeding last year's total by $10,000. The Friday night event was the grand finale of several months of fund-raising activities from individuals, groups, businesses and organizations. The 2003 event was held at the Leachville City Park for an all night walk and fun activities and entertainment for all ages.

Throughout the last few months wrestling matches, golf tournaments, softball tournaments, bake sales, motorcycle rides, raffles, road blocks, singings, and more events were held in a combined effort to raise money for a worthy cause.

This year's theme was "Producing a Cure for Stars of the Island." Teams that sponsored activities for the Relay for Life used movie themes such as "The Wizard of Oz," "Rocky," "Andy Griffith Show,"and "Grease."

Cancer survivors were recognized and kicked off the all night walk with a victory lap around the walking track. This year's honorary survivors included John Moore, Jr., Lavern Grooms, Glendene Rogers, Johnny Williams and Brenda Adcock. Over 100 cancer survivors made the walk with Syrena Duffell singing "Wind Beneath my Wings."

Entertainment throughout the evening included Hollie Gist, Trial and Error Band with Chuck Brown, Tommy Edgin, Mark Crooms, Eddie Thomas, and Mona Van Cleeve., and a band featuring Randy Lloyd, Kevin King, Georgia Baker, Steve Gains, Matt King, Chad Garrett, and Colburn Brothers.

Young people entertaining included the Buffalo Island Junior High Cheerleaders, Anna Brickell, Alyson Routon, Jordan Miller, Savannah Stewart, Ashton and Shae Hale, Drake Brown, Brittany Stockton, Ben Cole, Devon Austin, Mike Petit, Clay Turner and Leachville First Baptist youth.

A special show by members of Lepanto Taekwondo was presented with Daryl Turner, instructor.

Area mayors, Ralph Wells of Leachville, Joe South of Caraway, David Fletcher of Monette, and Norman Williams of Black Oak, took part in a ceremony reading the luminary names recognizing cancer survivors and reading the names on the honor roll in memory of area residents that have lost their battle with cancer.

Jared McGrew sang a special tribute "Light Your Candle."

An impressive lighting of the luminaries lit the walking track throughout the night. Hundreds of names were honored.

Members of the 2003 Steering Committee included Janice Edgin, co-chairman; Ruth Ann Keith, secretary; Barbara and Steve Suber, team recruitment; Karen Wallace, Syrena Duffell and Melvin Browning, sponsorship; Brenda Matheny, Revis Blaylock and Nan Snider, publicity; Jennie Fleeman and Jan Garrison, survivorship/registration; Tammy Rolland and Moba Lee Miller, hospitality; Bill and Darlene Hetler, logistics; Alesha Rolland, Mitzi Pierce and Jamie Matheny, decorations; Lesia Couch, Pagie Brown, Nancy Ladd and Paula Timms, luminaries; Karen Vaughn, Beth Thompson and Tina Matheny, activities; Phyllis Smith, accounting, Martha Smith, ACS area manager.

Teams and booths participating included the Second Baptist Church, Heritage Bank, Buffalo Island Central East Elementary, Trial and Error Band, Mt. Pleasant General Baptist Church; Colson, Sunshine Daycare, Buffalo Island Central Junior High Cheerleaders, Liberty Bank, Monette, Southern Bank of Commerce, Monette First Baptist Church, BIC West Elementary, Leachville Police Department, Leachville City Employees, Leachville Fire Department, Leachville First Responders, Leachville Senior Citizens. Spurlock gave each team a framed, certificate of appreciation.

A popular new event this year was the "Kiss a Pig" contest. Volunteers to take the chance of kissing a pig included Shelia Spurlock, relay chairman; Brenda Matheny, committee member; Kima Stewart, BIC West elementary principal; Ken Womack, Leachville chief of police; Jackie Hill, Manila chief of police; Ralph Wells, Leachville mayor; Steve May, Heritage Bank president; Brian Carmichael, Monette chief of police; Randy Rose, BIC Junior High principal; Mari Hayden, BIC East Elementary principal; and Steve Suber, Monette city council member. The event raised over $800 with the "lucky" winner being Kima Stewart with over 300 votes. Votes were $1 each.

Drawings were held for two quilts with June Wells and Tony Simpson winning. Tickets to see the Memphis Grizzley's were won by Greg Miller of Paragould.

In the production competition Mt. Pleasant General Baptist Church received the Oscar for its performance of "Rocky, Prayer Warriors." BIC cheerleaders came in first runner-up and Heritage Bank second runner-up. In the team cheer competition, Mt. Pleasant Prayer Warriors came in first; Colson's Wizard of Oz came in second and Heritage Bank Pit Crew came in third. Campsite awards went to Colson, first place, Leachville's Mayberry RFD second place and Heritage's Pit Crew third place. The best "Grub" award went to Leachville's Senior Citizens Driving Miss Daisy. The Spirit Cheer award went to Mt. Pleasant, first place, Heritage Bank, second place and BIC Junior High Cheerleaders, third place. Banner award went to Heritage Bank, first place; Leachville Police Department, second place; and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, third place.

Terrie Rolland won the most laps in the female division and Terry Beeson won in the male division.

The team winning the most money on Bank Night was Heritage Bank's Pit Crew. The most money raised at the Relay Night was Leachivlle Senior Citizens Driving Miss Daisy. The team raising the most overall was Heritage Bank.

After midnight activities included a lip sync, dance, hula hoop contest, and breakfast for everyone.

"As individuals, we are helpless against cancer, but as a group, working together with other groups across the United States, great strides have been made in cancer research. That is what this is all about -- working for a cure," Spurlock said.

Spurlock, a cancer survivor herself, thanked everyone that took part in the 2003 Relay for Life that helped exceed this year's goal. She also reminded everyone to be thinking about next year.

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