The Mexico Ledger throughout the month of August featured the stories of five area residents currently fighting cancer or in remission to prepare the Audrain County community for the annual Relay for Life on Saturday in Mexico.
Streets will close around the downtown square starting at noon with the relay to follow at 4 p.m. The event lasts until 10 p.m. Eight to 10 teams, who have fundraised throughout the year, are participating in the relay. The event also has a number of business sponsors supporting the relay and its fundraising efforts.
Weather on the day is expected to be sunny and 85 degrees with a slight breeze and cool to about 72 degrees as the evening progresses.
The survivors ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. when cancer survivors and their family members will do a lap around the square. Music is being provided by Brian and Shelby Pittig. Downtown businesses are decorating their windows for the relay and winners of the window decorating contest will be announced. Mayor Ayanna Shivers will speak at 7 p.m. with entertainment will follow. The Luminary ceremony will take place toward the end of the evening around 9:15 p.m.
A new campaign this year was called Soldiering for a Cure, which also aims to honor members of the armed forces, regardless of if they were diagnosed with cancer. The veteran's garden will be at the Audrain County War Memorial and Anchor at the Audrain County Courthouse.
"Relay for Life helps get money for research and also we have two lodges — one in St. Louis and one in Kansas City that are sponsored by the American Cancer Society," said Bill Reid, Audrain County Relay for Life committee member.
Those lodges are supported through fundraisers such as Relays for Life, since it costs more than $1,000 per day to operate them, he said. The lodges are used by patients and caregivers free-of-charge for those who are being treated in those municipalities, but are not local residents.
"The doctor has to recommend [the Hope Lodge]," Reid said. "That's one of the big things, for me, is getting support for that, personally. We've had people from Mexico go there and stay for up to 45 days and it doesn't cost them a dime."
Reid is a prostate cancer survivor and got involved with the organization through his wife and daughter, who already were active with the relay. Relay teams will turn in the donations they have received on Saturday and the organization will continue to take donations throughout the evening at the survivor's tent.