"United We Stand for a Cure" was more than the local theme for the San Saba County Relay for Life held April 16th and 17th. It was evident that it was the modus operandi for everyone who participated in whatever form or fashion they were involved. The location had to be changed at the last minute from Risien Park due to the rain and muddy conditions of the park. Thanks to the support of the City of San Saba and Tony Guidroz, a new location, the Civic Center was quickly secured. Not even the rain could dampen the spirit of our community that weekend!
There would not have been a San Saba County Relay for Life if not for the hard work of the 14 participating teams: Camp Camo (Rock Creek Ranch/Ham Family); Charles' Horns; Cherokee ISD Team; Cancer Fighting Commandos (Cherokee Children's Home Boys' Team); Duggan/Morrison Team; Groovy Warriors (Cherokee Children's Home Girls' Team); JC's Cru (Wyatt Deans' Team); Hill Country Community Action; Richland Springs VFD; SWAC (Church of Christ Time Travelers); Team Blossman; Walking Wild for Jessica (Eventide Nursing Home); "Who-Dat" Team; and Your Bucks Cure Cancer (Cherokee Children's Home Office Staff). Their fund-raising efforts leading up to the Relay and at the event totaled more than $22,000 for the American Cancer Society. Attendees heard firsthand from Survivor Donna blossman during Opening Ceremony about the support and services provided by the American Cancer Society. For cancer information or support anytime, day or night, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. Just know that the funds raised at our relay help save lives and touch our community directly!
The opening ceremony also included live musical performances by Gabe Johnson, Christy Perry and Dee Vickery. They lifted their voices and filled the Civic Center with joy and inspiration. Troop 55 Boy Scouts presented the colors and lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance while the Cub Scouts had the distinct privileged giving each Survivor a carnation. They were then treated to a delicious dinner in their honor thanks again to the generosity of may sponsors. They included: Alamo Pecan; Arrowhead Bank, Brady Health Care Services/Home Health; City National Bank; commercial National Bank; Cuttin' Up; San Saba Pecan;Sysco Foods; The Flower Garden; Dairy Queen; G&R Grocery; Guardian; Hoerster Clinic/Scott & White; Millican Pecan; San Saba Printing; Sonic Drive-In; Cherokee Home for Children; and Mrs. Trump's San Saba High School Art Class. The young artists customized photograph frames with inspirational art for each survivor. They were given to the survivors at the dinner as well as a "goodie bag" full of other donated items from some of the aformentioned local businesses.
There is another group of folks that stands out as contributing in a big way to the success of our Relay. They are the sponsors. Thank you to the following for stepping up and standing up to help San Saba County fight the good fight against cancer: Alamo Pecan; Arrowhead Bank; Big Tex Advertising-Ken & Ann Schulze; Blossman Exterminating; Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, Inc.; City of San Saba; City National Bank; Commercial National Bank; Diggs Private Club; J&J Tractor and Equipment Repair; Kevin & Margie Keeney; LCRA Employees; Oliver Pecan; Rock Creek Ranch - The Ham Family; San Saba County Chamber of Commerce; San Saba Ladies Golf Association; Stafford Chevron and Hardware; and Texas Screen Graphics. Thank you again for your generosity and support!
One of the most touching experiences at Relay for many is the Luminaria Ceremony. It occured at 9:00 p.m. Friday evening when more than 350 luminarias were lit to honor family and friends who have been affected by cancer. Some have lost the battle, some are still fighting the battle, and some have won the battle. As the candles were being lit, the names of all those represented by the luminarias were read. Following the reading of the names, a ceremony for "The Empty Table" was read. The Empty Table represented the loss and the pain of cancer victims, but also the hope we all share for a cure.
Other activities occurred throughout the night to keep our teams motivated and energized. Remember, each team had at least one person walking throughout the twelve hours of the Relay. The Pecan Valley Son Riders manned a booth with free water donated by Brady Health Care Services-Home Health so all the walkers had plenty to drink all night long. Everyone was amazed by all the talented singers who entertained the crowd with their glorious performances. The teams did a great job organizing games and challenges! There were lots of photo opportunities as team members participated in chugging water, tug o'war, the amazing race, hula hoop chain, a stick horse race, and many more fun activities. The activity for the midnight hour was really something special. It was the 1010 San Saba Mr. Relay Pageant. There were seven lovely young men dressed in their finest gowns or outfits poised to answer the question, "If you are chosen at the 2010 Mr. Relay for San Saba County, what are the first three things you will do?" These contestants went way above and beyond to help find a cure for cancer and create more birthdays! Kayden Saiz aka Kayla for "Walking Wild for Jessica" who was crowned Mr. Relay and should he not fulfill his duties, the first runner-up, Gabe Johnson aka Gabriela is prepared to step in and take over. All seven candidates were commended for their courage and confidence by the roaring applause (and some roaring laughter, too) from the crowd.
As the hours passed, the crowd thinned a little but all the teams managed to make it to Saturday morning's closing ceremony. It was marked by lots "thank you's" and a prayer with a few yawns in the mix. We all know that cancer never sleeps and that is why the Relay for Life goes through the night marking each hour with where a cancer patient would be in their treatment/process. The 2010 San Saba County Relay for Life is over, but the battle is still raging as we continue to unite inour effors as a community to make ours a world, and more specifically, a county of more birthdays!