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May 13, 2013

Relay volunteer’s time was well spent

Michelle Cunningham is leading her last Relay for Life as chairwoman; event is Friday

CLARK COUNTY —

A stay-at-home mother with two kids and an active member of the YMCA, Michelle Cunningham has been chairwoman of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Clark County for three years. This is Cunningham’s last year in charge of the event.

“I’m still going to be on committee and volunteer. It’s time for me to let someone else take the reins and try to make it a bigger and better event each year,” Cunningham said.

She said the American Cancer Society likes to have turnover of volunteers to make sure as many community members as possible can be involved. She began volunteering when a friend asked her to help with the event seven years ago. 

“Your very first experience is so powerful and so moving, it just kept me coming back. I was hooked from that very first relay,” she said.

Family members, friends and loved ones who have both won and lost the battle to cancer have touched her heart.

“I speak to survivors almost on a daily basis, and I listen to their stories, and I cry with them and it really makes you feel like there is something bigger that you’re doing — that you’re helping and giving back. It warms your soul,” she said.

It is the 19th year for Clark County’s Relay. This year’s event — themed “Carnival Cure” — will be held from 7 p.m. Friday, May 17, to 7 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Charlestown High School. It’s open to the public. 

Planning for the race begins when the new fiscal year starts, which is Sept. 1., Cunningham said. However, the real planning begins the day after the relay in May. 

“We raise money year-round. We have planning committee meetings to make sure we are all on the same page,” she said.

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