Laps were turned at Martinsville Speedway last Friday night, but it was no car race. More than 1,300 people joined the Martinsville and Henry County Chapter of the American Cancer Society for the Relay For Life.
Both teams and individuals walked laps around the track for 12 hours to raise money to fund programing and outreach for the chapter. So far, more than $109,000 has been raised. However, that number is still growing.
“There seems to be money coming every day right now, which seems to be a great problem to have,” Cindy Cox, community manager for Martinsville and Henry County of the American Cancer Society, said. “We have lots of programs like Look Good Feel Better, Reach to Recovery and our 1-800 number. Each one of those programs reaches out and helps each one of our survivors.”
Having Martinsville Speedway host the event was a no-brainer, Cox said. While nearly everyone in the area knows about the track, allowing them to walk on the racing surface made the experience unique.
“You know everyone around here has been to the speedway at least once or twice for various reasons,” Cox said. “Between the races or Celebration or various events through the year, for us to be able to camp out on the infield to be able to have our survivors have that experience along with our teams our participants, our caregivers, our volunteers, it’s priceless.”
For cancer survivor Michael Forrest the opportunity to be inside the walls was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Like I was telling my wife, ‘this is pit road. This is the garage area.’ A lot of people don’t get to come out and experience this,” he said.
Forrest went on to say the night wasn’t all about being inside the Martinsville Speedway catch fence, it was about camaraderie and sharing experiences.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how great it is to have all of these people come together. We all went through the same thing basically. We can lean on each other,” Forrest said. “For the community to come together and provide this for us, what can compare?”
For individuals who are interested in donating to the Martinsville and Henry County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, they can visit www.relayforlife.org/MHCVA and click donate now.