Special to the Reporter

The ninth annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Somervell County will kick off at the Soccer Park behind the Expo Center on Friday at 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

“Camping overnight at the fundraiser, with at least one team member walking at all times, symbolizes the continuous battle that cancer survivors face,” Shellee Seidl, event chairman, said. “Our 26 teams will offer lots of food, raffles and a variety of sale items, with entertainment and fun activities scheduled all through the night.”

Registration begins at 4 p.m. Friday and includes a program detailing team campsites, foods, team sales, games and entertainment, along with auction lists, cancer information and special activities.

Cancer survivors are reminded to arrive by 5 p.m., and refreshments, gifts, and free T-shirts will be offered at the Survivors canopy. Group photographs will be taken at 5:45 p.m. Hosts Sharon Lawler and Jodi Leigh request that survivors pre-register with them before Friday by calling 897-1440.

A silent auction is slated from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and auctioneer Lloyd Wirt will conduct a live auction from 8 to 9:28 p.m. Donations of items to the two auctions are still being accepted by Tracy Young; please call 817-279-3927.

Opening ceremony begins at 6 p.m. with an invocation by Randy Mac and a welcome by Somervell County Judge Walter Maynard, Posting of Colors by the Boy Scouts and singing of the national anthem. Glen Rose Mayor Pam Miller will read a proclamation, followed by introductions and relay theme by Mac, and presentation of the Kelli Nix Power of the Purple Award to an outstanding committee member.

Cancer survivors will walk the first lap at 6:30 p.m., followed by caregivers. A Team parade commences as the announcer calls each team, in campsite order, to the track. Starry Skye Dance Studio will perform from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m., followed by judging of the team cake contest and then the live auction at 8 p.m.

The highlight of the event is the Luminaria Ceremony at 9:30 p.m., when lights and music at all campsites will be turned off. It is a quiet, candlelit time of hope, when names on the glowing bags outlining the relay oval are read aloud in honor of or in memory of someone who has or had cancer. A slideshow featuring past relay photos runs during the ceremony.

It is urgent that luminaria orders, with donations of $5 each, be turned in before the relay. Forms may be obtained at Town & Country Bank or Vogue Hair Salon, or from Ashileen or Carlene Douglas. Persons ordering before Relay may personalize their bags. Last-minute luminarias may be ordered until 9 p.m. Friday.

Fun will resume with the Cross County Lines band performing from 10 to 11:30 p.m., and Jeff Layton will conduct a “Fight Back” ceremony from 11:30 p.m. to midnight. Early morning activities will include “Minute to Win It” games, raffle drawings, theme laps and stay-awake silliness.

Following the victory lap at 5:45 a.m. Saturday, members of the Optimist Club will provide a free pancake breakfast. A drawing will be held for the “Staying-All-Night Massage” raffle.

The theme of the 2010 relay is “A World With More Birthdays,” and the goal for the local group is to raise $61,000. In 2009 it fell short of that mark, but raised over $52,000. Nearly 90 percent of all monies collected nationwide fund ACS’s efforts in cancer treatment, prevention, research, patient services and scholarships.

Linda Nix, publicity chairman, asks all who take photos at the event to contact her at 817-408-8862.

For more information, contact Seidl at 817-202-5901 or 897-1461. The online site is http://www.relayforlife.org/somervellcotx.