Mrs. Sandy Smotherman of Newport will chair the Sponsorship Committee for the Jackson County American Cancer Society Relay for Life which will be held on April 11 starting at 6 p.m. The location had to be changed so the new location will be announced later.

Mrs. Smotherman states, “We in Jackson County can join together to raise funds to help put an end to the disease that have taken so many people from us. Each year progress is being made in treatment with a goal of finding a cure for all types of cancer. One way we raise funds for the Relay for Life is through sponsorships. Levels of sponsorship are as follows:

Power Purple: $1,500 or above

Diamond: $1,000 to $1,499

Survivor, Banquet or Sponsor: $500 to $999

Ceremony of Hope: $250 to $499

Each sponsor and level of sponsorship is recognized on the Relay for Life tee shirt which is used extensively at events throughout the year.

Mrs. Smotherman goes on to say “Many businesses in Jackson County have taken a leadership role in the County Relay by becoming sponsors in addition to putting together teams and assisting with much needed goods and services. However more sponsors are always needed!”

Why be a sponsor? One sponsor of the relay is Avery’s Wild HOGS which is Roy & Louise Runyan of Swifton. Mrs. Runyan said, “We have participated for many years in the Relay for Life remembering many people including my brother and nephew who lost the battle to cancer. Then we were given another reason when a person very close to our hearts was diagnosed with cancer-our granddaughter which really struck home! So for a few years we had a team, Avery Wild HOGS with friends joining the team. Recently we were unable to work on a team so we decided to be a sponsor.

Louise continues, Avery Runyan Garrison was 2 years of age on October 7, 2007, she and her parents, Zac and Dr. Tiffany Runyan Garrison, spent the Christmas holiday in Arkansas. After returning home to Wisconsin, Avery wasn’t feeling well, the Pediatrician treated for a typical childhood illness. After a few days Tiffany decided Avery was looking anemic and back to the doctor they go with tests being performed. Soon after Tiffany and Avery arrive home, a tornado had passed nearby; they received a call from the Doctor’s office to rush Avery immediately to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee with Zac meeting them. Avery was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For 2 ½ years she had intensive Chemotherapy treatment. During most of this time she had to drop out of daycare to avoid the chance of infection, lost her hair and had several stays in the hospital.

Now Avery is 8 years of age, in the second grade, takes ice skating lessons, gymnastics and loves riding lessons. She now has beautiful, long, curly hair. Last year Avery asked Tiffany, “Why did I have ALL?” Tiffany has spent lots of time answering questions for Avery but for this one her response was, “Avery, I don’t have an answer for that question.”

Mrs. Runyan states,” We are sponsors because research has made great strides in the treatment of cancer. In 1964 a child’s chance of surviving this form of leukemia was 3%. Today it’s 90%! We are so thankful for this progress. Each year Avery participates in the Kenosha Relay For Life with a team, Avery Angels, and is proud she has her own team, Zac serves on the Hospital Advisory Board for the Cancer Unit and Tiffany reviews research proposals and makes recommendations for grants for the American Cancer Society. We have seen the results of their research efforts plus the education and support services for patients and their families and caregivers but there is still much to accomplish. The fight against cancer must continue.”

Mrs. Smotherman also said, “There is a $25.00 Special Friend level for small businesses and $100.00 will purchase a Luminaria torch to be display at the relay.” If you have not returned your sponsorship forms or want to be a sponsor, mail your response to Mrs. Sandy Smotherman, PO Box 1822, Newport AR 72471.