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Editorial: New Relay for Life needs strong support

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By The Kentucky Standard Editorial Board

Last month’s Nelson County Relay for Life reversed a five-year trend in year-over-year declines in the amount of money raised for the American Cancer Society. It was also the first year the event was shortened and staged at the Nelson County Fairgrounds rather than the Bardstown High School track.

Stacey Phelps, chairwoman for the 2018 Relay, has already started work on making Relay into a year-round effort. Last week at a “debriefing” meeting, the Nelson County Relay committee decided to hold the 2018 event at the fairgrounds to take advantage of the extra space and facilities available at the New Haven Road site. Plans are also being made to change the timing of some activities to ensure more participation. Efforts to engage more individuals and business places will be redoubled to build back the number of teams involved.

The struggle to re-imagine Relay for Life is not unique to Nelson County. Drew Underwood, the Mid-South Relay for Life director, says many of today’s volunteers do not really identify with the original Relay model that has been around for three decades. For example, on the 24th of this month the Marion and Washington County Relay teams will combine efforts and hold a joint Relay for Life at the Lebanon-Springfield Airport.

Meanwhile, the need to raise money at the grass-roots level remains critical. It is estimated that in Kentucky alone there will be more than 26,000 new cases of cancer reported in 2017.

The American Cancer Society reports that only about 5 to 8 percent of funds they raise go to administrative costs. The rest is used for research and support services.

It seems most of us are touched directly or indirectly by cancer. We should all be supportive of the new efforts to reinvigorate our local Relay for Life.

Phelps, a bookkeeper at The Kentucky Standard, can be reached at 348-9003, Ext. 136, or at sphelps@kystandard.com.