Thursday banquet celebrates another year of birthdays

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
The traditional Relay for Life “Survivor’s Banquet” has often preferred to reference itself as “Celebrating another year of birthdays,” so another year of celebrating birthdays commences at Hempstead Hall this Thursday night, April 11.
Over the past couple of years both attendance for the “Survivor’s Banquet” and participation from survivor’s themselves have increased. In consecutive years of 2016, 2017, and 2018 record turnouts have occurred.
One change for this year, 2019, is the early date for Thursday’s banquet. In the past, the “Survivor’s Banquet” has been the Thursday directly in front of the main Relay itself, which traditionally starts on Friday.
Friday, April 26 will be the main Relay of Life event and ceremonies at Legion Field at Hope’s Fair Park.
“The Survivors banquet is a bit earlier this year; it is usually a bit closer to the Relay,” 2019 Hempstead Relay Chair Janet Choate said in a previous statement.
In the past, the Survivors banquet has featured a buffet-style line dinner, gift bags, and door prizes. Survivors have been invited to share their experiences with cancer, treatments, and related-stories. Guest speakers, like regionally-known Life Coach Greg Gilbert, have given speeches or musical performances.
Other key dates for the Relay for Life include:
• April 12 (this Friday) for Relay Golf Tournament at the Country Club
• April 26 (also a Friday) for Relay of Life event and ceremonies at Legion Field at Hope’s Fair Park
• May 4 (Saturday) for Relay Co-Ed Softball tournament at Kelly Fields starting at 9 a.m. Registration for teams for tournament sponsored is still open. The team registration deadline is April 19, and there is a $200 registration fee.

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