Relay to highlight volunteer program

Mary Katherine Murphy Staff Writer

September 25, 2013

LAURINBURG — This year’s Relay for Life — the county’s 17th annual — will feature a miniature solution of what, for some cancer patients, is a big problem.

Children will decorate cardboard boxcars and participate in a “Race to Recovery,” an event designed to bring awareness to a program at Scotland Cancer Treatment Center that will connect volunteer drivers with cancer patients who are in need of transportation.

“Going through cancer treatment becomes a hardship not only on the patient but also on the family and their caregiver support system,” said Mary Lopez, the center’s oncology social worker. “Often during treatment patients have difficulty driving and they often rely on friends and family and church members for their transportation back and forth, but an individual may not have somebody that they can look to for that support.”

The center, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is in the early stages of planning for the program, dubbed Road to Recovery. A training session for potential volunteers will be held on Nov. 12 at the center. Those interested in becoming volunteers should contact Lopez at 910-291-7638 or Rachel Urban at 336-580-1813.

Cardboard boxes and art supplies will be provided for elementary aged children to create their own box car and race it on the Scotland High School football field on Saturday. There is no charge for the activity, and pizza and drinks will be provided for children who participate.

Since its inception, Scotland County’s Relay for Life has raised nearly $3.6 million, and in recent years has consistently raised more money than any other similarly-sized community nationwide. The event begins Friday at 3:30 p.m., and will end at 3 p.m. Saturday.

During a brief presentation at Tuesday’s corporate sponser banquet, Relay Co-chair Stewart Thomas told an assembly of representatives of sponsor organizations that donations “are being used to fund groundbreaking research” through the American Cancer Society.

“That’s why we do relay for life,” Thomas said from the podium at Scotch Meadows Country Club.

“The American Cancer society has had a hand in every major cancer research breakthrough of the last century,” added Co-chair Carol Thomas. “Since 1985 it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon and raised $4 billion in the fight against cancer.”

That fundraising total, she said, is “because of the dedicated fundraising efforts of our sponsors.”

“With help we are fighting for every birthday that’s threatened by cancer,” Stewart Thomas said.