MasCUREade Party: 2018 American Cancer Society Night of Hope

IMG_9601

Cancer unites people. Last Thursday evening, a variety of Sevier County citizens came together for the 4th Annual Night of Hope at Harpoon Harry’s in Sevierville. This fund raising event raises money for research to find a cure and resources for families dealing with this disease. As it turned out, this evening was also a chance to share some great news. Here is what I saw at the MasCUREade.

IMG_9619

 

IMG_9603

Sophia Conerly and Rebecca Cowan warmly greeted guests at the door. Rebecca was a Co-Chair for the event this year.

IMG_9604

The evening had a schedule of events so we knew what to expect during the evening.

IMG_9634

Tickets were available to buy for a special auction. You could buy as many as you liked and put them in the box for a desired prize. The drawing would entail only one ticket—and that person would be the winner. So, in other words, you could buy a lot of tickets and place them in one particular box. Statistically, you would have a better chance of winning with more tickets in the box—which adds to the fun.

 

IMG_9605

Tim Kellar and Craig Johnson provided the entertainment for the evening.

IMG_9608

I had never seen an auction tree like this until recently. You bid on the tree which is full of gift certificates. Everything you could like is on this tree. Great idea!

IMG_9607

Carlene Maples and her husband attending the Night of Hope event last Thursday. She just finished her own fund raiser the week before—a fashion show!

IMG_9613

I like silent auction items more and more. I took my time looking over the selections.

img_9620.jpg

Appetizers lined the bar. Everyone’s favorites were stuffed mushrooms and peel and eat shrimp. Sushi was very popular as well.

IMG_9614

Silent auction items line a table that looks into the dining area for the event.

IMG_9636

Kayla Shelby, from the American Cancer Society, greets the guests and kicks off the event.

IMG_9638

You will never find a better auctioneer than Dale Carr. After two other events this fall, I have learned that the auctioneer plays a large part in determining the success of a live auction. In addition, Dale Carr is always glad to stop the action to take a photo, creating a fun moment.

img_9643.jpg

At the end of the evening, an important announcement was made to the gathering. After twenty years of hard word, the Relay For Life of Sevier County teams have raised over $4 million dollars for research and resources to help families. This is an incredible amount of money for purely volunteer teams. This was a huge achievement.

I was not in a good position to take this photo so I tried to manage one anyway. At the end of the program, former Relay for Life Event Chairs and Committee members  were asked to step forward for recognition. Relay for Life is powered by volunteers.

IMG_9644

At the end of the evening, Danette Conner-Rolen, event Co-Chair for the Night of Hope, and Kayla Shelby, Senior Manager of Community Development, finalize auction items. It was a very enjoyable evening and a successful local event to help in the battle against cancer.

IMG_9630

Here is a list of sponsors, whose support was greatly appreciated.

 

 

Celebrate and Be Grateful: A Special Speaker for the Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group

Celebrate every day and be grateful. That was part of the message from Michael Holtz at this month’s Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group meeting.    

IMG_2755

 Michael Holtz is a cancer survivor, an advocate for cancer patients, and the State Lead Ambassador for American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Tennessee. (ACSCAN TN) 

He loves his role with ACSCAN because he knows he is making an impact on legislation that matters to cancer patients and in the battle to end cancer.    

Advocacy matters, and it does make a difference.  Because of advocacy, the Federal Government has continued to increase Federal research funding, that includes Cancer research, by $2 billion every year.  Many ACSCAN volunteers are cancer survivors just like Michael and when Legislators see their faces, they realize how important the funding is to the survival of cancer patients.   

 IMG_2754

This year, Michael and other ACSCAN volunteers are focusing their energy on the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA).  Palliative care is comfort at the beginning of treatment, Hospice care is comfort at the end of life.  This Legislation would fund education for medical personnel in the area of pain management, for patients with serious illnesses that result in chronic or acute pain.  Thus bringing comfort to patients and their families during the entire treatment for their cancer diagnosis.   

It has been a 6 year effort to get PCHETA to where it’s at in Congress.  It was passed unanimously by the House and is now in the Senate ready for mark up. This is when the Senate debates, amends, and do any rewrites of the proposed legislation. 

Our own, Senator Alexander has an important role in getting PCHETA to a vote in the Senate. The path to vote for PCHETA starts in his committee and as the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he is the one to move it to mark up.  Sen. Alexander listens to his constituents and is a big supporter of cancer research.  As a constituent, you can call his office and ask him to “schedule the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act, Senate Bill 693, for mark up”.   

The phone number for his office in Washington D.C. 202-224-4990 

Michael told the small crowd, “we would like to see the day when no one has to hear the words, you have cancer, and this legislation is a road to that day”.   He and 650+ ACSCAN advocates will converge on Washington D.C. this month to ask Congress to support PCHETA.   

A highlight of the Washington D.C. trip is the Lights of Hope ceremony where thousands of luminaria bags from around the country are lined up around the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial.  The bags are a somber reminder of the far-reaching impact of cancer.  But from the solemness ignites a flame of passion that continues to drive the volunteers.  You can make a statement about cancer with the purchase of a Light of Hope Luminaria. Michael will carry it to Washington D.C. and add it to the others around the Reflecting Pool.  Go to http://action.acscan.org/goto/michaelholtz2018, and make your donation.  Each bags $10 and supports ACSCAN.   The deadline is September 16th. 

The Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group meets the second Monday of each month, at the My People Senior Activity Center.  All are welcome.  Contact Carlene Maples at carlene.maples@gmail.com, for more information.   

Some Warriors Don’t Carry Weapons: Relay For Life of Sevier County Celebrates 20 Years of Hope

There are many groups here, but I am sure none work harder than Relay for Life of Sevier County. Relay For Life is an organization with the mission to raise money for cancer research and programming. The Sevier County Relay For Life group has raised over $3.8 million dollars for the American Cancer Society. Last Saturday was a 20 Year Celebration for the local organization—and it was a big one. Follow me downtown Sevierville to see activities during the 12 hour event.

First, I am going to share some of my favorite things for the general public. Then, I will share some things that I saw that will hit close to home for cancer survivors and caregivers. There is something for everyone at a Relay For Life event.

IMG_3137

I was happy to see plenty of parking and chairs, many in the shade. There was a schedule of events posted on Facebook and in the Mountain Press featuring free music and non-stop entertainment. Anyone can come down and enjoy the outdoors with the courthouse and Dolly statue in the backdrop.

 

IMG_3146 2

IMG_3149 2

Citizens National Bank offered treats and the thrill of a dunking booth. This lady said that the water was a little chilly at the beginning of the day. What a good sport and supporter of Relay For Life.

IMG_3151

There were games and prizes. Surely, this team had the best smiles!

IMG_3155 2

Sophia and I had lunch from the Norma Dan Monkees team menu. Grilled right there! They chose ‘monkees’ as a name mascot because it is upbeat …and they are just fun!

img_3158.jpg

IMG_3156

Serving burgers to benefit Relay For Life of Sevier County. They were great!

IMG_3161

More games from Tennessee State Bank. The candy pull game looked fun. Popcorn too.

IMG_3162

The crowds were huge at Dollywood so this family stopped by downtown and took advantage of some of the activities. Face painting was very popular.

IMG_3183 3

More games!

IMG_3225

Inflatables were a big draw for families.

IMG_3188

Low carb snacks. A huge plate for $2 !

There was a large selection of silent auction items. I am bringing more $ next year to do some birthday and Christmas shopping.

IMG_3169

There are only a few Smoky Mountain-Opoly games left. Sheriff Seals supported the Relay For Life event in person, and as a sponsor.

IMG_3197

Author, Missy Barrett, speaking with Tennessee Representative Dale Carr.

IMG_3194

I heard really good music all day. The band pictured above was quite popular. “Priscilla and Little Rickee” came from Chattanooga to play for the Relay For Life event.

IMG_3204

Late in the afternoon, past event Chairs and members of the first steering committee were recognized. These leaders have championed the fight against cancer to help others in Sevier County live better lives.

IMG_3191

With the courthouse in the background, Relay For Life of Sevier County teams receive a check $15,000  from the Smoky Mountain Wine Trail from the Pink Wines and Stomp Out Breast Cancer Walk. An amazing donation!

IMG_3216

I enjoyed the live auction under the direction of Dale Carr. He skillfully guided the bidding until the highest dollar was found.

To see a live auction is truly an amazing thing.

IMG_3223

As the sun set, I was waiting for the Luminaria ceremony to begin. One could donate a luminaria in memory of a loved one or to honor one who had battled cancer. I bought one for a sweet lady who had passed last year.

IMG_3226 Luminarias lined the street and served as a visual reminder of the terrible reach of cancer.

During the luminaria ceremony, each person was given a small candle.  The candle would be lit as they called out categories of loved ones affected by cancer. Then, there was a quiet memory walk around the courthouse to reflect on these loved ones.

The moment that the Boyd’s Creek Church of God choir began to sing “Amazing Grace” was somber and touching. I almost did not video this moment because it was so solemn, but I felt that it was important for people to see the beauty and dignity of the remembrance walk. As the choir sang, people took their candles and walked along the luminarias that lined the courthouse.

The Relay For Life of Sevier County teams worked hard for 12 hours to celebrate 20 years of important work that impacts our citizens. This group truly brings hope to those in our county who face the fear of cancer. Many thanks to Emily Kile who stepped out to create the group here 20 years ago when it was relatively unheard of. Thanks to other leaders and committee members who have worked on Relay events over the years. Thanks to the teams who worked so hard last Saturday. Finally, thanks to my friend Sophia Conerly, who has taught me more about this hard working group of people. I have seen them…and they are warriors.

I’ll end this article with some of the sponsors of this event—it would be difficult without their partnership and support.

IMG_3192

IMG_3172

IMG_3173

 

Relay For Life +SCHS Host ‘Hoops For Heroes’

IMG_7814

March Madness hit the SCHS gym last Saturday afternoon when local heroes battled it out on the hardwood for bragging rights—and to support one of the hardest working volunteer organizations in Sevier County. It was Hoops for Heroes to benefit Relay For Life.

IMG_7821

I walked in, paid the $5 admission, and said hello to the student volunteers. Many, many concessions were available. Have lunch there when you go next year.

IMG_7834

I was late so games were in full swing by the time I arrived. Six teams competed:  Pigeon Forge Police, Sevierville Police, Sevierville Fire, Pigeon Forge Fire, and two teams from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

IMG_0575

Above is a collage of four of the teams.I missed two of the shirts due to the speed of the players.  😉

Play was divided into 15 minute segments. There was a 5 minute break between games. Competition was fierce. Good recovery here!

IMG_7882

Sevier County High has a Relay For Life student chapter. Some of the organizers for this event were Leslie Mattern, Michael Maddron, and Ben Brabson. Scorekeepers were Beth Ownby and Ben Brabson.

IMG_7874

Officiating was strict! Officials were Scott Ward and Jason Ownby.

img_7826.jpg

Event co-chairs for the Hoops for Heroes event were Judy Bales (left) and Danette Rolen (right).

IMG_7828

Sevier County Mayor, Larry Waters; Judy Bales, event co-chair; and Brian McCarter support the Hoops for Heroes basketball competition.

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department team scores a basket.

IMG_7843

My friends, Wendy and Becky, cheering on the Sevierville Fire and Police Department teams.

IMG_7846

Our favorite, Officer Leia Loveday, getting ready to play for the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

A battle for the basket by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

IMG_7865 13

This was just part of the cheering section for the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Seals and his wife Wanda were enjoying the game, especially since they had two teams in the event.

IMG_7839

All eyes are on the ball!

IMG_7879

Becky Roberts and the parents of star player, Jaime Roberts. I saw him hit some three pointers.

IMG_7842

Players in the championship game.

IMG_7870

Relay For Life board members, Carlene Maples and Sophia Conerly enjoyed the event.

IMG_7844

This political message is paid for by Tad Wynn.

IMG_7895

I expected some of the players on the teams to be former high school players due to the skills. As I watched the Pigeon Forge Police Department, a couple of players stood out. I talked to this player at the end and then recognized him. This is Logan McCarter, an SCHS athlete and member of the class of 2013. Fun to watch him play again!

Some former high school hoops players shine on the hardwood.

IMG_7875

Brian McCarter brings his commentator skills to the Relay for Life Hoops for Heroes event. The team nicknames were priceless! (The Budgetbusters?) I am still laughing about that one.

IMG_7852

The scorekeeping was in good hands.

There was strong play in the championship game between the Sevierville and Pigeon Forge Police Departments.

IMG_7897

It was a battle, but the Pigeon Forge Police Department won the championship game; thus, they are the winners of the Hoops for Heroes event. Fierce play!

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department won the consolation game. Well played!

IMG_7905

Clearly, all participants and volunteers last Saturday were heroes, especially in helping the fight against cancer. If you wanted to find a hero, the SCHS gym was full of them in the picture above. Many thanks to them all.

This was a wonderful, family friendly event and I am so glad that I was able to see some of the games. I will arrive early next time. Be ready for next year because I think that this event will return with teams ready to ‘even the score.’ There may be even more teams. Lawyers? Moonshiners? Stay tuned! Relay for Life’s Hoops for Heroes was one of my favorite things to do this month. It was a good Saturday to get out and about in Sevierville.