Paint West Jefferson Purple

James HowellStaff

April 28, 2013

An event to raise awareness for the 2013 Relay for Life called “Paint the Town Purple” will line the streets of West Jefferson from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on June 21 at Mount Jefferson Presbyterian Church.

“The main purpose of the event is it’s an awareness event for the Relay in July,” said Melissa Hiatt, a community organizer for the American Cancer Society.

“I’m really excited. This is the first time we’ve done it in Ashe County,” said Hiatt about Paint the Town Purple.

Along with raising awareness for the relay, Paint the Town Purple will also inform the community about what the American Cancer Society does to help communities, and is an additional fundraising opportunity.

Winners will be announced for best store front (business), spirit of relay (municipal), cup cake contest (community) and art contest (youth and adult).

Final decisions for Paint the Town Purple were announced earlier this month at an American Cancer Society meeting held in West Jefferson.

During the meeting, Allison Reeves, a community manager for the American Cancer Society from Yadkin County, spoke with local community organizers about using social media.

“She was teaching them to use social media as a way to fundraise and find new team members,” said Hiatt. “I can already see an increase in them (community organizers) using online tools for fundraising.”

Relay For Life is a unique fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. The relay celebrates cancer survivors while also raising cancer awareness and raising funding for important research.

Relay For Life involves participants from Ashe County businesses, families, churches, schools and civic groups in teams of 10-15 people walking around the Ashe County High School’s track from 6 p.m. until midnight. The Relay For Life will take place on July 19.

Each team member is asked to raise a minimum of $100 in donations to support the American Cancer Society. In addition, the success of Relay depends on financial support from corporate sponsors.

“One of the great things about Relay is almost all of the volunteers, whether or not their lives have been touched by cancer, come for the same reason: that is to raise money to find a cure, or help cancer awareness,” said Hiatt.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.