NOTE: This story has been updated to remove a paragraph that said Helen Diane Barclay's sister died from cancer. Barclay's sister is, in fact, a cancer survivor.
When discussing her decision to get involved with Relay, Barclay said, “I’m inspired by my family, which has been hit by death due to cancer. That is what led me to my desire to help others. The American Cancer Society organization and Community In Action Relay for Life Team has done so much to help others. They helped me to join Emma Jacobs, Renee’ Jacobs, Alline Turner and Sandra Richardson, inspiring me to join the team. They have helped so many people in our community. I want to thank the community for their participation in making us so successful.”
TALLADEGA -- Helen Diane Barclay was one of 26 walkers at Talladega’s Veterans Park on Saturday morning taking steps to raise money for the Community In Action Relay for Life Team.
Barclay, who chairs the Community In Action Team, wanted first and foremost to say, “God gave us this weather with no rain. We’ve got to thank him.”
The sky overhead was cloudy and dark, but Barclay said the key was “no rain.”
“We’ve got to have our event to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life,” she said. “This organization helps so many, including the walkers you see here today who are survivors or have family members who are either survivors or died from cancer."
Saturday’s event brought Mary Anna Hill from Sylacauga to walk. She is a stage three, 12-year breast cancer survivor.
Hill is serving as event leader in Sylacauga for the Talladega County Relay for Life.
The Relay for Life has combined North and South Talladega County because in recent years, participation, sponsorships and funds have dropped off, said Julie Hansek, community leader, Relay for Life, for the county.
This year’s goal for the county is $50,000.
Relay for Life will be in Sylacauga at the soccer field, Barclay said, on May 10.
Renee’ Jacobs, co-captain for the Community in Action Team, said those who walked Saturday raised at least $1,000. “We had a good mixture here this morning of men and women, with one of the walkers 81 years old.
Jacobs said early detection is key to surviving cancer. “By volunteering for Relay for Life, you are helping others, and that is what it is all about,” she said.
Juanita McClelland, another survivor, spent her Saturday morning walking the around track at Veterans Park with other survivors and those who just wanted to raise funds for Relay.
She, along with the other volunteers, were enjoying the hours they gave to the worthwhile cause.
Barclay said because the 2019 Relay is going to be countywide, hopefully, more volunteers will join together to battle this disease.
“This is just the beginning of a yearly event. This is a start. You got to start somewhere, and here we are,” Barclay said.
Some of the American Cancer Society programs Relay for Life benefits are the organization’s Cancer Research Center; Reach to Recovery; Road to Recovery; Look Good, Feel Better; Hope Lodge; and Cancer.org.
The sponsorship deadline for the county’s Relay for Life is March 15 for name or logo to appear on the back of event shirts.
To register your team, visit www.relayforlife.org/talladegaal or call 800-227-2345.
Hansek said the Survivor Dinner will be April 9 at 5:30 p.m. in Sylacauga at J. Craig Smith Community Center. Coosa Valley Medical Center sponsors the event, which will be catered by Hickory Street Café.
Classic Trend of Lincoln, CVS, Barber Sales, First Bank of America, America’s First Credit Union, Dr. Dollar, Talladega County Health Department, Usrey Funeral Home, Goody’s, Merle Norman, Pop the Top Soda Shop and Advanced Auto Parts sponsored Saturday’s Relay for Life walk, Barclay said.
For more information, contact Hansek at julie.hansekcancer.or or 256-283-6107.