Signal youth rally behind Relay for Life

Signal youth rally behind Relay for Life

April 12th, 2012 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Teams are still in the process of forming for the Signal Mountain Relay for Life event benefiting the American Cancer Society to be held in the Signal Mountain High School gym from Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m. to Saturday, April 28 at 6 a.m.

Signal Mountain High School student Marshall Hopper is organizing a Relay for Life event for the Signal Mountain community at the school from Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m. to Saturday, April 28 at 6 a.m. The relay is open to the entire community and teams are still forming.

Signal Mountain High School student Marshall Hopper is...

Photo by Emily Crisman

SMHS senior Marshall Hopper, whose brother Matt Hopper lost his life to cancer in 2008 at age 21, is organizing the event as his senior project. He said all funds raised through the Signal Mountain Relay for Life will be donated to ACS in his brother's name.

"Anyone who wants to participate can show up," said Marshall of the community-wide event for all ages. "We want all the support we can get."

To register a team or donate, visit the event website at

"Unfortunately, we've all been touched by cancer," said Christy Thompson, the American Cancer Society's representative for Hamilton County who is assisting Hopper in planning the event. "We thought since his brother was such a young age we'd focus on the youth."

While the event will end at 10 p.m. for SMMS students, high-schoolers and other community members are encouraged to stay throughout the night.

"It goes in line with cancer patients' struggles," said Thompson of the structure of Relay for Life events, which are typically well-attended at the start of the evening, similar to when a person is first diagnosed with the disease and flooded with calls and casseroles. As the night wears on, participants typically begin to taper off and get on with their everyday lives, with a select few remaining for the entire event, she said.

Thompson said each team typically plans an activity for all event participants to do at some point during the night.

Since the Signal Mountain event will be held indoors, Hopper said he plans to hold basketball and volleyball tournaments and will have a DJ and fellow student's band for entertainment. Instead of candles, he said attendees will put glow sticks into paper bags along with the name of a cancer patient they want to honor or celebrate for the Luminaria lap done at each Relay event.

Hopper has been selling T-shirts and writing letters to help achieve his fundraising goal of $20,000 for the Signal Mountain event.

Thompson said the second annual private "celebrity waiter" fundraiser at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club, which raised $14,000 last year, should help as well. Celebrity waiters include well-known Signal Mountain residents such as Gretchen Richards, Rob Philyaw, Keith Dressler and Ann Askew, she said.