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Relay for Life kick-off set for Thursday

Two heads are generally better than one, and when it comes to beating cancer, two neighboring counties joined together is better than one, too.

The American Cancer Society is hosting a kick-off event Thursday to plan for the inaugural Relay for Life of Copiah-Lincoln, which will be held in April. On Thursday, ACS officials and local organizers will choose a theme for the 2017 Relay and celebrate the merging of the two counties to create a better event.

The kick-off will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the King’s Daughters Medical Center financial services building on Hwy. 51 across from the hospital.

Because participation in Relay for Life events has decreased nationally, the ACS evaluated each event and determined which ones were close enough in proximity to combine and cut down on costs. “The American Cancer Society is and has always been committed to being good stewards of each and every dollar we raise,” said Cindy Ashmore, community manager for the Mid-South Division.  “A lot of thought went into this decision-making process and every aspect of each event was scrutinized. We owe it to our donors and volunteers to really look at how much money actually goes to the mission after you take away all the costs of an event, from tents all the way to staff hours.”

After evaluating Copiah County’s and Lincoln County’s Relay events, the ACS decided to merge the two. The Relay for Life of Copiah-Lincoln will be held April 21 at Brookhaven Exchange Club Park, most likely from 6 p.m to midnight with a meal for survivors planned about 5:30 p.m., Ashmore said.

“This merge in no way means that the American Cancer Society or myself is abandoning Copiah County,” she said. “We will still be engaging all of Copiah County and hope that past teams, volunteers, survivors, caregivers and donors alike will continue to support this worthwhile event.”

Ashmore is encouraging teams in both counties to localize team fundraisers and events. “The only change will be that we will all come together on Relay night to celebrate our survivors, remember those whom we have lost and fight back against cancer,” she said. “Who wouldn’t love to attend a Relay for Life event with 20 to 30 or more excited and awesome teams?”

For more information, call Ashmore at  601-384-6209 or email her at cindy.ashmore@cancer.org.