Cancer has touched almost everyone through their own struggles — or the battle of a loved one.
Linda (Inman) Morris is one such Rim Country resident who has lost many family members to the disease.
“I’ve had lots of family die from cancer,” she said.
To cope with that loss, she and her family are sponsoring a team to walk in the annual Relay For Life event in Payson this June. “Each year, one person may have a birthday because of what we’re doing,” Morris said.
Relay For Life started in 1985 when a doctor ran around an oval track for 24 hours, said the Web site. Dr. Gory Klatt raised $27,000 that first time out, which has inspired thousands of annual events around the world.
But these events could not happen without local support from people like Morris.
Besides sponsoring a team, Morris also works behind the scenes to organize the whole event. However, this year, she has struggled to find enough committee members to help. “We’re looking for two committee members,” she said. “One would do community relations.”
The Relay For Life Web site says that committee members “organize all elements of the event, promote the Relay, recruit teams to participate, coordinate ceremonies, source entertainment and much more.”
Morris’ family does the “much more” part.
Her family sponsored the Fabulous Inman booth last year and this year will change the name to Believers.
Morris said the theme the family had last year was the ’50s. “We had ’50s music, dressed up in poodle skirts, had an old record player, and sold cotton candy and popcorn,” she said.
Morris also put together a luminary bag donation program.
Luminary bags are simply paper bags with a candle inside. Morris said at 9 p.m., organizers turn off the Payson field lights after all of the candles have been lit and surround the fields with glowing bags.
“It’s so beautiful and rewarding,” she said. “We do the survivor walk at that time and it’s so wonderful for them to know they are not alone.”
Morris said as she talks to people throughout the community, many believe they are expected to go around the track for hours and do not donate or participate. Not so, said Morris.
“One person from every team must be on the track at all times,” she said, “but some can’t be on the track or even walk.”
According to the rules, someone from every team must remain on the track at all times, but that could include walking on and off the track, said Morris.
“Just being there to support a friend, relative, son or daughter walk is encouraged,” she said.
This year, the Rim Country Relay For Life committee decided to shorten the time of the event to 12 hours instead of doing the full 24 hours.
“We’ll go from noon to midnight this year,” said Morris.
Morris hopes with so many different ways to donate, Rim Country puts on another stellar event as they have done in the past.
If you would like to donate or join the organization committee, please call Linda Morris at 468-6371 or 951-3750.