Crowds support ‘Relay’

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

Volunteers manned tents at Goodyear Park on Friday afternoon, waiting for dusk, waiting for crowds to come out and buy a dinner or a dessert, get a raffle ticket or even a cookbook, and donate a bit of money toward the local fight against cancer at the 25th annual Relay for Life event.

The cookbooks were once the collection of Betty Joyce Creel, who died from breast cancer. Her twin daughters, Kaye Baughman and Faye Stewart, set out several dozen at the Ladies Loving Life table. They were asking for a $5 donation for each book, and each book included handwritten instructions and notes from Creel.

Although the books do have some sentimental value, Baughman said it wasn’t a tough decision to sell them.

“Every time she bought herself a cookbook, and bought each of us a copy, too,” said Baughman. “That’s why we’re selling the cookbooks; we have them all.”

A hand-lettered sign next to the books reads, “Our mother, Betty Joyce Creel loved to cook!!! There was always food to enjoy every day. The love of food has been passed down for generations in our family.”

The cookbooks spanned decades of cooking trends and miles of geography. Some were hardback, mass-marketed books. Others, like the Annunciation Catholic School cookbooks, were small, locally-produced books featuring family favorites. All were important to Creel, but her daughters felt that since Relay for Life was their mother’s favorite charity, she would appreciate the gesture.

But sentimentality aside, Baughman has a clear message for women in the community.

“Just be sure to have your mammograms,” she said. “That’s so important.”

For women who have breast cancer — or any kind of cancer — the cookbook sales could mean a tank or gas or a night in a hotel in New Orleans, or some other bill when money’s tight due to cancer treatments.

The area Relay for Life organization has set a fundraising goal of $60,000 this year — above their $40,000 last year — and that money goes to the American Cancer Society but stays in the community to help out those struggling to make ends meet while they battle the disease.

A week prior to the Relay event, the group had raised about $20,000, but with the perfect weather combination of clear skies and cool breeze, Friday’s event will bump the numbers higher. The Goodyear Park event was underwritten by the Our Lady of the Angels’ team, The Super Angels and their tent was opposite the hospital.  Volunteers from the hospital were selling plate lunches, averaging about $4 each. By noon, the group estimated they’d sold 200 plates, bringing in close to $1,000 in just the first two hours of the event.

The Relay for Life event came to a close Friday evening with the luminary ceremony at 9 p.m.