The participants and volunteers of the Ennis Relay for Life event held recently may have been tired by the end of the night, but they were also inspired by the results of their efforts. The event, which had approximately 33 teams, exceeded the goal the Ennis Relay for Life team had set for themselves by raising more that $80,000.

Event co-chair Judi Hejny attributes the success of the event to the people behind it.

“Everyone takes this event very seriously. There are lots of people working very hard to make sure the event is successful and we all continue to work hard to make sure we do our part to help find a cure,” she said.

The third annual relay featured themed laps, a tug of war, dunking booth and musicfor the participants and the public to enjoy and help bring the contribution total up.

“We have all kinds of silly fun to encourage people to have a good time and come together to help eliminate the horrible disease that cancer is,” Hejny said.

The relay began with opening remarks from mayor Russell Thomas, who recognized the strength of cancer survivors.

“No one knows what it means to a survivor, except other survivors. Their determination and will for life is inspiring. You become a survivor the day you decide to fight the disease with everything you’ve got,” said Thomas.

Following the mayor’s remarks, about 65 cancer survivors dressed in purple shirts walked the first lap around the track to get the event started. Many survivors wore signs on the back of their shirts displaying how many months or years they had been fighting the disease and were given a standing ovation from the crowd for their determination. Many audience members and participants were visibly moved by the tenacity of the survivors, understanding the difficulties all have faced while battling the disease.

The relay has to have one member of each team on the track at all times throughout the night, which is significant to the participants as a reminder that dealing with the disease is a battle that doesn’t slow down to sleep or rest because someone gets tired.

“We walk to remind ourselves and the public that anyone dealing with cancer never gets a break or a rest because they may be tired. The disease knows no boundaries and we hope we show with our efforts that we are as strong,” said Hejny.

The mission statement of the relay states that the relay represents hope for those that suffer with cancer will be supported; those that have died from cancer will never be forgotten and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

The participants were allowed to leave the track for a brief period during the luminary service which happens a dusk. Lights are lit around the track in memory of someone that has succumbed to the disease, a very powerful and sobering reminder to all of the reason behind the event.

Donations are still being accepted by all teams until the summer when funds will be tallied for the year. Contact Judi Hejny for more information, (972) 571-2673.