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Team Destination CureRelay for Life of Paulding County has held annual events since the late 1990s. Usually when people hear “Relay for Life”, they assume it involves running a race. This may be the case for some Relay for Life events, however majority of them don’t involve running. Relay for Life of Paulding County is about our community coming together in the form of an outdoor festival feel to celebrate those who have beaten cancer, remember those who have passed away from cancer, and support those currently fighting cancer. Our event is 100% free – no entry fee, and no mandatory donation. All you are giving is your time to attend. During our event, participants walk laps around a track as a symbol that cancer never sleeps in the lives of cancer patients and their caregivers. Those who have cancer do not get to decide “I don’t want to deal with cancer today” or “I need a break from cancer”, so walking laps at our annual event is symbolism to the constant battle and grind a cancer patient and their caregivers face. We walk in honor and in memory of them. Donations and funds raised go to cancer research and patient services such as the Road to Recovery program and Hope Lodges. Road to Recovery is a program that makes sure cancer patients have transportation to and from treatment. Hope Lodges offers free overnight stays to cancer patients and their families who have to go further away for treatments.

Our 2024 theme is “My Relay Story” – we encourage participants and supporters to share and represent why they choose to be involved in Relay for Life. I’m proud to share my Relay story to hopefully be an encouragement to others who have been touched by cancer:

My name is Taylor Elzey, and I am the Volunteer Event Lead for Paulding County Relay for Life. I attended my first Relay event in May of 2007. I attended to support my godparents who faced the devastation of their son, Scotty, passing away from cancer in 2006 at only 25 years old. I mainly just observed at this event: I watched people rally around one another, some celebrating with their survivor, while others shed tears remembering their loved ones who had passed away. Watching a community of people come together whether they knew each other or not, supporting one another, it was a sight to see! It struck a chord with me, and I’ve been involved ever since.

In 2008, my 8-month-old nephew was diagnosed with brain cancer. They didn’t expect him to survive the initial surgery, but God saw him through. I’m grateful to say he turned 16 this past January.

In 2009, I became Co-Captain of our Relay for Life team.

In 2014, I joined the Event Leadership Team, serving as Survivor & Caregiver Co-Chair.

In 2017, I became the Logistics Lead.

From 2019 to current, I have served as Volunteer Event Lead.

Relay for Life has been an annual staple in my life for 17 years now (over half my lifetime). It’s an event I am blessed to share with my family and friends, remembering our loved ones who have passed, celebrating loved ones who are in remission, and supporting loved ones who are currently battling cancer. Being involved for 17 years now, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many people with such amazing, touching stories. I’ve witnessed through Relay for Life, but also in my personal life, how cancer takes so much from people. It drives home even more the fact that cancer has no respect for persons; Cancer doesn’t care about age, race, income, height, weight, etc. Cancer is a bully that attacks at any time. It steals many things and turns lives upside down, but cancer is just a word. It does not define a person. One of my favorite poems I share often says:

“Cancer is limited… It cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope. It cannot corrode faith. It cannot destroy peace. It cannot kill friendship. It cannot suppress memories. It cannot silence courage. It cannot invade the soul. It cannot steal eternal life. It cannot conquer the spirit.”- Unknown Author

Our event is not about a dollar amount. Our event is about people… a time to simply come together, have fun, honor those fighting cancer, remember those who passed from cancer, support those currently fighting, and applaud Caregivers who give so much of themselves. The whole reason I got involved was in memory of a loved one who passed away. They aren’t here to walk their Survivor lap, but I will proudly attend an annual event, light a torch, and walk in their memory because cancer did not and cannot steal their legacy. Over the years, more and more loved ones have been diagnosed, so the “Why I Relay” continues to grow.

Saturday, May 4 th 2024 at Veterans Park in Dallas, beginning at 4pm, I invite you to come out and be a part of our My Relay Story event. Again, our event is 100% free unless you choose to donate, so attending will only cost you your time. Come help us celebrate, remember, and fight back! www.relayforlife.org/pauldingga