The Woodward News

January 20, 2013

Relay for Life meeting Tuesday

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The Woodward Relay for Life will be holding a meeting this coming Tuesday to get people signed up to aid in the fight against cancer.

Event Co-Chair Kyla Smith said, "Relay for Life here in Woodward is June 14, so we hold the kickoff to have people come out and pick up information for the year and get started on getting their teams formed."

As part of the Relay for Life, local teams promise to walk in a 12-hour relay overnight, which symbolizes the long, dark journey faced by cancer patients in their fight against the disease.  In addition, the teams collect sponsorships and donations which go to the American Cancer Society to support cancer research.

This year's Relay for Life marks a special occasion however, as 2013 is the American Cancer Society's centennial anniversary.

"This year happens to be American Cancer Society's 100th year in service, so we thought it'd be fun if our theme this year was around AMS's birthday," Smith said.

So for the kickoff event, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Room 201 at High Plains Technology Center, Relay for Life Woodward will be holding a birthday party.

"Sweet Surprises is donating a birthday cake the night of the kickoff, and we'll also have finger food as well. Everyone interested in getting involved is more than welcome to attend," Smith said.

As part of the kickoff, Smith said she will give a short presentation about what the American Cancer Society does and how the Relay supports those efforts.

"We'll also have pamphlets and information pages for people to take home with them to learn more," she said.

Smith said the Relay for Life kickoff is a great way for people who are new to the organization to learn more about the Relay and how they can help support its efforts to raise money for cancer research.

"They can come and see all the different ways the can get involved, such as becoming a committee member who plans the event and helps coordinate the event, or they could be a volunteer the day of the event and help pass things out or sign people in. We have something for anyone who wants to help, whether you're a business owner wanting to become a corporate sponsor or even if you want to form a team," she said.

She said people who've lived through cancer can also sign up at the kickoff event as a survivor and they'll receive a special dinner the week before the Relay as well as being honored as a special guest the day of the Relay.

Smith said those who attend the kickoff will find all the information they need to become active in the Relay for Life and encourages everyone interested to come out to help support the American Cancer Society.

"People should come out to gain information about the Relay for Life and how they can help fight back against cancer," she said.

For more information about the event people are encouraged to contact Kyla Smith at 254-1189 or by e-mail at


Smith explained that Relay for Life is the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and that the American Cancer Society is the number one non-government organization in the fight against cancer.

She went on to give some history on the organization, saying that Relay for Life has been raising funds for the American Cancer Society since 1985. Smith said Woodward had been involved in the Relay for Life since around 1997, and that last year Woodward hit a milestone.

"At the end of the 2012 Relay, Woodward passed the $1 million mark, so we are in that club of fundraiser now," she said. "This means that since Woodward started participating in 1997, we've raised over $1 million to help fight cancer in Woodward alone."

Smith explained the break down of the funds raised by the Relay, saying that data for FY 2011 shows that 72 percent of American Cancer Society's resources go towards cancer research, patient support, prevention information and education, and the detection and treatment of cancer, 22 percent goes towards fundraising expenses, and only 6 percent goes towards management and general expenses.

Specifically, she said funds to the ACS go towards such programs as Patient Navigation, which refers to an 800 number where cancer patients can contact "patient navigators" who will provide information on cancer treatment, suggest questions to ask doctors, and provide emotional support. Funds also go toward providing patients with free wigs, breast prostheses and mastectomy bras, gas cards or volunteer rides to help offset the cost of travel to medical appointments, as well as many more, she said.