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— By PATRIC FLANNIGAN

Staff writer

The Ouachita County Relay for Life Banquet will be held from 5-9 p.m. on May 31 at the SAU Tech Student Center in East Camden. The theme for this year is “Cruising for a Cure.” Registration will be at 5 p.m. and the serving line will start at 6 p.m.

Ouachita County Relay for Life organizer Eva Jorgenson shared that there are several changes to the Relay for Life this year, but that the mission is still to raise funds for a cure for cancer.

One of the biggest changes is the venue.

At a Kiwanis Club meeting earlier this year, Jorgensen stated that the event would be moved inside, out of consideration for the survivors that don’t get to come because of the hot temperatures when the event was held at Coleman Stadium.

She also explained that the time of the event has been shortened because people don’t stay overnight as much as they used to.

“We have a lot of survivors that are older and are sick and can not take the heat so they just don’t get to come because its so hot,” Jorgenson said during the Kiwanis Club meeting.

“We are giving it a try for something new and something different. If it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to the other way.”

The silent auction will start at 5 p.m. Survivors will be seated in the middle of the student center with the luminaries circling around the room.

The buffet-style meal will be catered by Woods Place for the survivors.

Each survivor is allotted one care-taker to partake in the meal for free with them. The price will be $20 for everyone else that comes to the event to eat. The food will be put away around 6:45 p.m. and after that admittance will be free. There will be music and prizes.

The luminary readings will begin at 9 p.m. Jorgenson shared how RFL is important and why the funds go to the American Cancer Society instead of staying local. She explained that the funds are needed for research, and that without the research, no cures can be found.

She spoke about the recent medicine that Oakley Nimmo - a local child that is battling cancer - received and how that was made possible through research.

Jorgenson explained that people have criticized RFL in the past because the money raised doesn’t stay local. Jorgenson explained that the money raised at the Ouachita County RFL goes to the American Cancer Society. ACS does the research which in turn benefits everyone.

She also stated that Oakley’s newest medicine was FDA approved and that was made possible with some of the funds that are raised locally.

Jorgenson said that the Ouachita County RFL team has ranked in the top 3 in the state when it comes to RFL fundraising over the last ten year. Three years ago, Camden was first and raised over $100,000 for research.

Jorgenson said it is a testament to the hard work of the team, survivors, sponsors and the community. She also encouraged people to support the event by participating in the fundraisers throughout the year.

“All we can do is keep fighting and keep praying and hoping for the cures,” Jorgenson said. “And the research is what does that.”

Corporate sponsors are still available and are a great way to show support to local survivors.

Luminaries are for sell for $5 each. For more information, please call 807-0020

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