Garry Marchman

Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman speaks at the Relay For Life kick-off event on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Relay for Life is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary on Saturday, April 29.

During a kickoff held Thursday, organizers announced this year’s theme would be “A Cure Under The Big Top” and would be pulling from carnival and circus elements to celebrate the lives of those who have fought, and are fighting cancer.

Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman recounted his own experience with cancer at the kickoff event speaking of the importance of events like Relay for Life.

In 2015, Marchman was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in his liver and kidneys. His doctors believed his cancer would be terminal.

Marchman’s cancer did go into remission thanks to what he believes was the support of his friends, family and his faith along with the advances in technology that allowed his cancer to be diagnosed and treated.

“The cancer that I had, if I had been diagnosed 25 years earlier, there’s no way that I would have survived,” Marchman said. “But, technology has come a long way and any time you do stuff like that it takes money to do it. That’s what you guys are doing ... is trying to raise money and push stuff in the right direction.”

Ahead of the annual walk, a survivor’s breakfast will be on Wednesday, April 26. Invitations to attend the breakfast will be sent out in the coming weeks, but are not required to attend. Relay will take place from 5-10 p.m. at Deport Park.

Event Team Leadership Chairperson, Helen Allen said that teams are encouraged to register as early as possible, but would be able to sign-up to participate as late as the day of the event.

“We like to tell people to sign up as early as they can, so they have more time to raise funds and all of that, but we won’t turn anybody away. Maybe if they came the day after, but then they could go ahead and sign up for next year,” Allen said.

Patrick Camp can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238

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