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Turning the town purple

  • Theresa Bates and her crew have turned Benton and the surrounding communities purple to draw attention to this Saturday's Relay for Life.  The annual event raises funds for cancer research and is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.   The ribbons signify awareness of the disease that claims nearly 500,000 American lives each year.

    Theresa Bates and her crew have turned Benton and the surrounding communities purple to draw attention to this Saturday's Relay for Life. The annual event raises funds for cancer research and is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The ribbons signify awareness of the disease that claims nearly 500,000 American lives each year.
    Holly Kee photo

 
BY HOLLY KEE
HKEE@BENTONEVENINGNEWS.COM
Posted on 6/7/2017, 5:00 AM

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 500,000 Americans will die from cancer this year. For one Franklin County woman, that just doesn't sit well.
Theresa Bates has taken up the fight against cancer, spearheading the county's Relay for Life, the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Bates' reason for the time she puts in are simple: She lost both parents to cancer nearly 20 years ago.
"This is a part of my life," she said. "It's no longer seven degrees of separation. We all know someone who is or has been dealing with cancer."
Bates has done the event for 10 years. Last year's event raised $40,000, all of which went to support cancer research.
"We're doing everything we can do to raise as much as we can this year," she said.
The Franklin County event will be held from 4 to 11 p.m. this Saturday, June 10 at the Benton Civic Center.
Bates said the event is a community effort. In fact, it is one she promotes nearly full-time throughout the year through a variety of fundraising and awareness events including the Bark for Life and the Purple Ribbon Campaign.
Saturday's event will feature the AJ Mitchell Memorial Torch Run, a 50/50 raffle and silent auction, performances by the Benton High School Drum Line and IQ Athletics. There will even be a human version of the "Hungry, Hungry Hippo" game.
Home Depot will sponsor crafts, and there will be laser tag outside all day. Bounce houses will be up from 4 to 8:30 p.m.
The honorary survivors will be introduced at 5 p.m.
The Luminaria Ceremony will begin at 9 p.m., struck in with bagpiper Les Lannom. Lannom said he is honored to be part of the event.
"Over the past 30 years I've lost five very dear friends to cancer," he said. "I think the work that the American Cancer Society is doing is worthwhile work and I would like to see it move forward."
Lannom will join Connie Sieveking in reading the names on the luminary bags. A pie-eating contest will precede the closing ceremonies.