CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News)—The annual Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Katy City Park, 5720 Franz Road. One of the teams participating, Team KT, has an obvious connection with Katy, but for Brenda Martin, the team’s founder, it’s more personal than that.
The “T” in “KT” is for Martin’s husband, Tal, who was diagnosed with oral cancer seven years ago. That’s when Martin first learned of the Relay for Life and decided to get involved.
“He’s recovered from his cancer, though he’s had half his jaw taken out,” Martin said of her husband, a former Marine who now works as a machinist with Acme Brick in Sealy. “He’s working and fighting and doing OK. But he’s cancer-free. He’s a tough guy.”
While Tal Martin is the “T,” Kim France is as the “K.” France was best friends with Martin’s daughter, Lyn Sullivan Lerman. France was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died before last year’s relay.
“It was a really difficult ceremony last year,” Brenda Martin said.
While it’s called a relay, the Relay for Life is a non-competitive, family-friendly event designed to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those who lost their battle with the disease and raise money to help find a cure. Admission is free.
The event will feature opening and closing ceremonies. Following the opening ceremonies, survivors are invited to walk the first lap, called a celebration lap, on the track around the park. Caregivers then get to take a turn, celebrating all their efforts to support their loved ones. Participants sponsor teams, or better still, join teams to share in the activity. The batons this year will be mini-light sabers in keeping with the Star Wars theme.
Participants are invited to decorate luminaria bags at the park, which are dedicated to cancer survivors, those still fighting the disease, or those who have died of the disease. The luminaria bags will be placed along the track during the night hours.
People are encouraged to sponsor walkers and their teams, or purchase signs at the park as part of the fundraising effort. Martin said a silent auction is planned, with between 80-100 items donated. Many local restaurants have donated gift cards as well. Martin praised a colleague, Vicki Wiggins, as doing a “phenomenal” job in securing donations.
Fundraising aside, the event is meant to be a celebration and people are welcome to attend, even briefly, and even if they don’t plan to donate money. Children can play in a bounce house and a survivor’s tent will also be set up in addition to team tents.
“We want to treat them like royalty,” Martin said of the survivors.
Food and drink are provided. For more information and to register, visit www.relayforlife.org/katytx.