(right) makes an announcement during the Relay for Life kickoff at the establishment Saturday night. Pictured from left are Relay co-chair Sean O'Brien, Accounting Chair Gina Findley and co-chair Bailey Lyons. The event raised more than $2,700 for relay. The actual event is set for June 14.(Ruth Campbell/Tribune)
Bourbon County's Relay for Life, aimed at raising money for the American Cancer Society, kicked off its drive at Holmtown Pub this weekend.
Jim O'Brien worked the door, collecting the $5 cover charge after patrons had walked a strip of purple pavement outside the establishment. Purple is the official color of Relay for Life/Find a Cure.
He was anticipating things would get busy. "I hope so. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it," O'Brien said. He added that dear friends, his grandparents and wife have all had cancer.
"I want to be involved to try and stop this dreaded disease. We can do it, too," O'Brien said.
April Messer and her daughter, Hannah, are Woody's Walkers, the team led by Holmtown Pub bartender James Woods. April and Hannah sported evening gowns and sashes with Woody's Walkers on them Saturday night. Jeremy Messer, April's husband and Hannah's dad, made April's dress.
Hannah said she and her mother participated in the relay last year. "My sister-in -law died from breast cancer, so we walk for her," April said.
"We do what we can to help out," Hannah said.
Bailey Lyons and Sean O'Brien are co-chairs of this year's relay. Gina Findley is the accounting chair. The three, along with Woods, who wore a purple sequined dress, awarded raffle prizes and offered some remarks before the entertainment began.
"We did our kick-off here last year as well," Findley said. "... It's a great location."
Holmtown Pub owners Chuck and Kristi Holmes are also big RFL supporters.
About 200 people attended and all tips, even those earned earlier in the day, went to Relay for Life, Findley said. Attendees also purchased tables and items were raffled off and the bands, B.J. Pruitt, Jake "Jukebox" Johnson, Six Guns South and The Tailgatorz, donated their time. Several people and organizations also made matching donations to the cause.
Those attending contributed $2,735, Findley said. "That's right about where we thought we'd end up. I thought it was great. There was a lot of community support," she said.
The actual walk, which usually takes place on the Fort Scott Community College track, is June 14. The volunteer-driven Relay for Life originated in the United States in 1985. Last year's campaign, chaired by Lyons, raised more than $61,000.
Proceeds go toward the American Cancer Society and its many services, which include education, advocacy and support groups.