For the second year in a row, Torchmark affiliates sponsored and participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in McKinney, Texas. Led by Relay veteran and cancer survivor Jessie Miller, a Torchmark affiliate employee, Team Torchmark unleashed an A.T.T.A.C.K. (All of Team Torchmark Against Cancer of all Kinds) on this deadly disease, raising a total of $7,299.80 for the cause.
Relay for Life is an event that gives people a chance to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease by walking laps to raise money for cancer research and support through various sponsorships. Relay begins with cancer survivors being announced, leading into a Survivor Walk lap, in which survivors walk to celebrate their victory over cancer. This year’s Team Torchmark roster included three Home Office cancer survivors: Jessie Miller, Roosevelt Brown, and Nancy Collins. Team Torchmark formed with the recruitment of last year’s veterans, and the team grew to include 26 members as fundraising picked up.
Team Torchmark’s first kick-off fundraiser was a breakfast burrito sale on March 27. This event was so popular the team did it again on April 10, raising $164 total through the sale of burritos, candy, pencils, and purple ribbons. A week later, Team Torchmark began its raffle, with 14 items available to win. The grand prize, a diamond necklace basket, was raffled off at the relay. The raffle raised $1,006, with another $120 raised through the sale of other items.
In addition to Team Torchmark’s fundraising efforts, individual members were able to raise personal funds of their own. The top three individuals were Jessie Miller, with $2,716.16; Sue Fisher, with $1,230; and Nancy Collins, with $993.50. In team captain Jessie Miller’s words, “There are so many who have lost their lives to cancer, and if working with the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life will help find a cure, I’m there.” Jessie, herself a survivor, said her primary reason to relay this year was in memory of her father, who passed away last July after a five-month battle with leukemia. “I was able to deal with my cancer better than my father’s illness. Some people call it ‘Survivor Syndrome,’ but I just know it was so hard to watch him go from a healthy man to a frail 82-year-old,” said Jessie.
Despite the wind, the night of Relay for Life was wonderful. Jessie enjoyed visiting with team members and hearing about their lap progress. Team Torchmark sold walking beads to help teammates keep track of the number of laps they walked. This family event started at 7 p.m. and featured many other fundraising teams and sponsors. Although the event lasts for 12 hours, most people left by midnight. While Team Torchmark members had their hearts set on staying the full 12 hours, they called it a night around 1:30 a.m. For these courageous survivors, there’s always next year’s relay to look forward to.