Relay for Life

Story by Lauren Schatz, images courtesy of Relay for Life

Stillwater Relay for Life has always been successful in its fundraising and attendance goals. This year, the state combined Stillwater Relay for Life with Cushing and OSU Relays to make Relay for Life of Payne County.

Roy Bays, a community leader who is heavily involved in Relay for Life, believes this collective effort will yield positive results.

“I think our fundraising effort will be good,” Bays said. “Our goal is $140,000, so it’s going to be neat to get the other towns involved and working together…we’ll see how we come out.”

In 2006, Bays was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer. A former OSU golfer and golf professional for over 50 years, Bays is now unable to golf because of his cancer.

Roy Bays

“Cancer has taken that [golf] away,” Bays said. “But I can still fight back and give back by raising money through Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.”

Bays started with Relay for Life in 2009 after a colleague of his from his cancer support group asked him to serve as co-captain of a Stillwater Relay for Life team.

Bays says his experience with Relay for Life has been very rewarding and credits this to the Stillwater community.

“The people of Stillwater are very understanding, generous, and giving to Relay for Life,” he said.

People are not just generous financially; many members of the Stillwater community donate their time. Some serve on Relay for Life of Payne County’s committee. They handle outreach matters and plan fundraisers, raffles and other events.

The committee never fails to go above and beyond to fight for the cause; their fundraising efforts reflect this.

“We’re pretty active year-round,” Bays said. “The relay season goes from September 1 to August 31.”

The committee doesn’t stop at restaurant fundraising; in fact, they are quite creative with fundraising, doing anything from mum sales to t-shirt sales.

While fundraising is, of course, an important aspect of Relay for Life, Bays emphasizes the necessity of community support.

“It’s amazing what good support does,” Bays said. “It’s not a picnic to be diagnosed with cancer, but it’s great to have the support for both the cancer survivors and the caregivers.”

What is Relay for Life?

According to the American Cancer Society, “Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. Each event is 6-24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.”

Relay for Life started as an idea in 1985, when Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track to raise money for the American Cancer Society. One year later, the first Relay for Life was held.

Upcoming Events

To support Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, check out the following events:

Stillwater Medical Center Petunia Basket Fundraiser. Stillwater Medical Center is selling 10″ wave Petunia hanging baskets for only $15! Proceeds benefit Payne County Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. The baskets contain beautifully mounded, full, colorful plants in an assortment of mixed colors. Every basket provides a splash of color for patios, porches and sun rooms. Contact kedwards@stillwater-medical.org or jmills@stillwater-medical.org.

Hope Chest Raffle. Enter for a chance to win a handcrafted cedar hope chest! Makes a great gift for Graduates, Brides, or Mother’s Day. Tickets are 1 for $5 or 5 for $20. Drawing will be April 9th and the winner will be contacted to make arrangements for pick up. Call or email Jamie Johnson for tickets at (405) 742-1438 or  jamie.johnson@banksnb.com.

Survivor Dinner Featuring Entertainment by Wade Tower. Thursday, May 31, 6 p.m., University Heights Baptist Church.

Relay For Life Payne County. Friday, June 8, 7 p.m., Stillwater Junior high Stadium, 1900 N. Skyline St., Stillwater, OK. For more information susan.flesner@cancer.org 405-843-9888.