So. Liberty County Relay for Life raises $45K for cancer research

It's become a tradition for Dave "Showdog" Chessher and Sarah Rucker, who has Down's Syndrome, to dance at every Relay for Life event. The two danced to the Village People's hit song "YMCA" and "The Hokey Pokey" song.

By Vanesa Brashier,

The South Liberty County Relay for Life chapter provided a financial boost in the fight for cancer research on Friday, April 5. This year’s event, held at War Memorial Stadium in Liberty, raised $45,000 and donations are still coming in, said one of the organizers, Crista Beasley-Adams.

Attendance and booth participation was slightly down from years past, but Beasley-Adams said a change in committee members has many of the current volunteers learning on their feet.

“We had to regroup this year and start over with new people. We still have a lot to learn,” she said, adding that the chance of rain in the forecast might have kept some people away from this year’s event.

Still, they managed to have 17 teams and 12 major sponsors. Sponsors included Wingfield Concrete, $2,500; Health Center of Southeast Texas, $1,000; First Liberty National Bank, $1,000; Smart Oilfield Services, $500; Chili’s, $180, and $100 donations from Allison Funeral Home, Judy’s Bookkeeping, Trailer Works Inc., Main Frame Wrecker, Dr. David Arnold, DDS, Raywood Livestock and Arc Lives Welding.

One of the booths that raised the most money was Cavemen Clubbing Out Cancer, which is affiliated with a private daycare owned by Dayton resident Donna Puckett.

“Our goal was to raise $3,601 and we raised $4,500 through parents and fundraisers. Someone tonight handed me a $20 bill for our booth because the kids were so cute,” Puckett said.

Relay for Life events include a Survivors Lap for people who have battled cancer and survived. Dayton resident Twila Hotaling and her daughters, Dee Merrill of Dayton and Theresa Hardage of Cleveland, are all cancer survivors. Hardage is still undergoing treatment for bladder cancer while Hotaling and Merrill have both survived ovarian cancer.

Hotaling’s advice for other young woman is check for cancer early.

“Get tested as soon as you can. Keep up with your doctors, and if you find a good doctor, keep him,” she said.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Greg Arthur was among the walkers. Though he isn’t a cancer survivor, he has had friends and family experience the dreaded disease. He likes to attend the Liberty-Dayton and Cleveland events every year. The North Liberty County Relay for Life, which includes Cleveland and Tarkington, will be held on April 26 at Cleveland Municipal Park.

“I think it’s a really great chance to get out and support cancer research and to share our support and prayers for the ones still fighting it,” Arthur said.

Next year’s South Liberty County Relay for Life will be held next April at the Dayton High School stadium. In years past, the event has bounced between the two neighboring communities of Liberty and Dayton, but it was stopped in recent years.

Beasley-Adams said the decision to alternate the event between the two cities was announced at the start of this year’s event.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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