PICKENS COUNTY – From making and selling bracelets, to ‘slinging’ hot dogs, to Bluegrass, local people will be doing it to raise money in the fight against cancer.
For them, it is personal. In one way or another, they have all experienced cancer first hand. They have fought the battle themselves or watched and supported loved ones do it.
Over the next five months, these families and several hundred others will use a variety of tools, events, dramatics and – some would say – gimmicks in the effort to raise money for cancer research, education and awareness. The participants came together last week to kickoff the Pickens County Relay for Life, an all-night event May 17, that is the culmination of a season of fund raising, celebration and remembrance.
Among them are the Moore women of Easley, Mary, the widow of Marty Moore and their two daughters, Amber and Jessica. They are continuing a legacy of the Pick- A-Cure Bluegrass Festival started in response to Marty’s illness.
Marty Moore loved Bluegrass music. “He owned banjos, guitars and fiddles – about every Bluegrass instrument there is – and played some. He loved it,” Mary said. As a family and a couple they traveled to North Carolina to hear festivals and meet performers and teaches of the art form.
When he was diagnosed in 2006 with esophageal cancer, the family knew little about Relay for Life. He had been diagnosed with the illness for several months when they drove past the local event in 2006. “We stopped in and visited that one,” Mary said. Coming away from that event the family decided to be more active the next year. Bluegrass music became the thing to try. They have employed the use of area musicians who knew Marty.
“We accepted all donations, pocket change. He (Marty) said, ‘You never know. That might be the nickel or the dime that cures cancer,’” Mary said. “His doctor told him to “get a good attitude. He wouldn’t give him (Marty) a life expectancy. He (Marty) kept pushing until two weeks before he died. He would go in for a treatment and they would have him talk to other people about what the experience was like.”
Being asked to do those things helped her late husband, Mary said.
For the Moore women, Relay for Life is a way of remembering their husband and father, honoring him and fighting the thing that took him from them. Planning continues with a specific date and location of the Pick-A-Cure festival is yet to be determined.
That ability to do something to fight against the disease is a motivation for many cancer victims and their families said Elizabeth Tilley of the American Cancer Society. Tilley lost her mother to cancer before she became a paid staffer for the cancer society. Now she works the Upstate, helping the organization raise funds.
The American Society, which turns 100 this year, offers a support group to cancer victims and their families. Events like the Relay allow folks to remember, celebrate and fight back.
Lois Porter offers an example of how the support works. “If you meet a survivor like Lois, what hope that promotes,” Tilley said.
At the very least Porter and her team – Lucky Lois – will be selling hot dogs at the Relay event. Lois is one of the friendly, well-known- waitresses at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor. She is a cancer survivor and can almost always be seen wearing a smile when talking about the response from supporters on the Lucky Lois team. “We have fun and do something to help,” Lois said.
Connie McDaniel and her OES (Order of the Eastern Star) Cares Team have been making and selling bracelets as a keepsake and remembrance for the Relay events. They have sold more than $200 in bracelets already. She can be contacted at email@example.com
The all–night Relay event will include a high-energy opening ceremony with story of survival. Survivors present will walk the track at the Relay site as a symbol of conquering the disease. Later in the evening family and friends who have been lost to cancer will be remembered in a luminary lighting ceremony. Sponsoring a luminary is a way of remembering a loved one lost. A sponsorship can be made at