By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Each year, participants in Relay for Life walk around all night to symbolize the fact that cancer never sleeps. In a similar show of support, 48 students in pre-kindergarten at G.W. Bulluck Elementary School rode their trikes around the schools’ one-eighth-mile track for two hours Friday morning to raise money for the county’s upcoming Relay.
“It was a nice day to be together and raise money for a good cause,” said Bulluck Principal Paula Flythe. “It was a great community event.”
Flythe said the trike-a-thon raised more than $4,000 for Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraiser. Because of the amount of money that was raised, Flythe got a pie in the face, but she was a good sport and laughed about it.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said, of Friday’s event.
Faye Taylor, member of the Edgecombe County Board of Education, watched her granddaughter, Madelyn Taylor, and grandson, Jacob Coley, ride their trikes around and around the track as fast as their little legs could pedal.
“They are having a blast,” she said. The schools’ kindergartners cheered on the pre-kindergartners from the sidelines, yelling,
“Go! Go! Go!”
Adding to the fun at the event was a visit by Mr. Pig, of Piggly Wiggly, a raffle for a hope chest, concessions by West Edgecombe Baptist Church and miniature tractors donated by a community member.
“The community really gets involved, said Pam Kaczmarek, a pre-kindergarten teacher who coordinates the event every year. “It just brings out the best in the community. It brings out the best in everybody.”
The trike-a-thon, now in its ninth year, has raised a total of more than $26,000 for Relay.
“This community has been affected by cancer … I’ve lost both of my grandparents to cancer,” Kaczmarek said. “Right now one of our volunteers has had breast cancer and has come back and is willing to help. I love the fact that everybody is so willing to help.”
Lauren Edmondson, communications and community relations coordinator for Edgecombe County Public Schools, said the school system consistently has the top fundraising team for the county’s Relay and Bulluck is the school that traditionally raises the most money.
“The thing I love about this community is you can feel the support,” said Taylor. “I’m so proud of our Relay for Life because our county really does a good job with that. There’s a lot of dignity and honor in the way that it’s done.”
One of Taylor’s family members has had melanoma (skin cancer), and that has given her a new perspective on the purpose of Relay.
This year’s Edgecombe County Relay for Life is set for Friday evening and night on the football field and track at Tarboro High School.