American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Van Zandt County wraps up 2016

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Van Zandt County Event Leadership Team held their Wrap-Up Party late last month.

Keeping the “Make Cancer a Fairytale” theme, the wrap-up event was a swim party based on “The Little Mermaid.”

The 2016 Relay For Life of Van Zandt County raised almost $50,000 from September 2015 through August 2016, to help save lives, help local cancer patients and support efforts to eliminate cancer suffering and death.

Relay For Life is an event that brings together teams from local businesses, schools, churches and families for fun, food, music, entertainment and a night under the stars, while team members take turns walking on a track. Relay For Life begins with a cancer Survivors Lap and a reception to celebrate life. The monies raised from this event will support the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives and create more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures and fighting back.

At the Wrap-Up Party, 2015-16 Event Lead Julie Tanner presented awards and recognitions to teams and individuals.

Individuals raising more than $1,000 each were: Robin Westmoreland, Cindy Goodson, Patti Tabraham, Julie Tanner, Kassie Todd and Debbie Maxfield.

Teams raising more than $1,000 were: Wallace UMC, Freedom Walkers, Driskill Family Team, American National Bank of Texas, Committee For Hope, Cheatham Memorial Methodist Church, CNB Triple Threat and Van Zandt 4-H Horse Club.

Awards were also presented to the Driskill Family Team for Best Campsite (“Frozen” theme) and Freedom Walkers for First Runner-Up Campsite (“The Little Mermaid” theme.)

Wallace UMC received the plaque for Ultimate Team, for having raised the most money – $7,757.50.

“We appreciate all of the support we have received from the Van Zandt County community,” Tanner said. “The teams worked so hard to raise the money, and we are especially grateful to the families and friends who participated in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. We are had incredible support from our sponsors this year. They really make this event possible.”

Sponsors for the 2016 Relay For Life of Van Zandt County included: Morton Salt, Texas Bank & Trust, Martins Mill ISD, Fruitvale ISD, Austin Bank, Canton Rotary Club, CIMA, Citizen’s National Bank, Door Control Services, Duke’s Travel Plaza, Economy Drug, Epic Industries, Joyful Noise Audio, Lone Star Security, Mineola Community Bank, Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt, Wilco Equipment, Winslow’s Custom Buildings, Winning Strategies, Van Zandt Steel, Inc., Bob’s Collision, Buhr Chiropractic, Deen Implement, Hester & Company, CPA, Leon’s Signs, Mitchell Oil Company, Oasis Massage, 1st in Design, Bartley Funeral Home, Canton Dish Barn, Erwin Concrete, Exit Pro Realty, Gary’s Car Wash, Lewis Chevrolet, Ingram Health Care, Jerry’s Pizza, LaPrade Steel, The Muffler Shop, My Credit Union, Prosperity Bank, The Registry, Roberts Ranch Aussies, Scott & Son H&AC, SBI, Texas Friendly Insurance Agency, Tim James Insurance, Van Zandt Title Services, Wallace UMC, First United Methodist Church, John 3:16 Band, The Lumber Yard, Mill Creek Farms, Sam’s Club – Tyler, Walmart – Canton and Robles Mexican Restaurant.


To end the Wrap-Up Party, Tanner introduced the 2016-17 Event Lead Mary Ellen Miller.

Miller has been a volunteer for the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life since 2005. She has been a team captain and has held many different positions on the event leadership team, including event lead in 2010.

“At my first Relay For Life event in 2005, I was so touched by the outpouring of love and compassion from Relay volunteers. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and I’ve been a Relay for Life volunteer ever since,” Miller said. “I am looking forward to the coming Relay year. With the help of our phenomenal Event Leadership Team, the planning will begin in September for special events for survivors and caregivers throughout the year leading up to our main Relay For Life event.

“As event lead, I will be in a unique position to introduce Relay For Life to survivors and caregivers in the months leading up to May. My favorite times at Relay are meeting survivors and caregivers who are attending for the first time. Of course, I love seeing familiar faces, too!”

The main Relay For Life event will be 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. May 12, 2017, at The Arbors on the First Monday Grounds in Canton.

For information about Relay For Life or about cancer, call toll-free anytime 1-800-227-2345 or visit the American Cancer Society Web site at

To be a part of the Event Leadership Team, contact Miller at 903-603-8753 or

According to information from the organization, “The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight.”