Read, watch, listen Mt. Lebanon Relay team hosting annual book, CD, DVD sale
By Melanie Tucker | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
People who love to read, listen to music or watch movies have a good reason to come to Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church’s annual used book/media sale that will take place next Friday and Saturday.
The selection of children’s books, biographies, inspirational books, CDs and DVDs will feature something for most anybody. The prices surely can’t be beat — and at the end of the day every cent goes to a cause most of us are all too familiar with.
Mt. Lebanon’s Relay for Life team and fellow church members are in their seventh year of hosting this sale. Donations of used books and the music and movies come from Mt. Lebanon and the community at large. Linda Smith has been organizing the event for years and said it’s one of the ways her team and church can made a difference in the fight against cancer. It’s a disease that’s sneaked its way into many Mt. Lebanon families.
After this many years of collecting, sorting, displaying and taking down the sale, it might be easy for some to say it’s time to move on. Not so for this team, which last year raised over $21,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Reasons to keep fighting
“Every time I think I’m too tired to go on, somebody else gets diagnosed and somebody else doesn’t make it,” Smith said. That spurs her onward.
Jama Holt was on the very first Relay For Life team at Mt. Lebanon, organized by Carolyn and Fred Forster, who died of cancer in November 2010. Holt said a couple of years ago, she and husband Gene had decided they were going to take a year off from Relay. Then they attended the first fundraiser for the team that year. It was a church dinner.
“We were sitting there and I looked at him and he looked at me and I said ‘We are on the wrong side of the table. ‘I need to be over there with that team and he said, ‘Me, too.’ We immediately went back.”
Holt lost her mom to breast cancer in 1990. She was only 66 years old. So when the Forsters were busy signing up team members those years ago, Hold said her heart wouldn’t let her say anything but yes. There are others just like her.
“Everybody has a cancer story,” Holt explained.
Leading up to Relay
The used book/media sale alone brought in $3,750 for Mt. Lebanon’s team in 2012. This group starts in December each year and holds a fundraiser each month leading up to the Relay for Life, which this year is set for June 7-8 on the campus of Maryville College. After months of raising money for the American Cancer Society, teams will gather on this college campus to walk in memory of cancer victims, in honor of those still waging battle and to provide money for research so future generations have better odds over the disease.
The used book sale is but one of Mount Lebanon’s Relay fundraisers. The next event will be a huge trash and treasure sale. Mt. Lebanon has been doing this one longer than the book sale.
“It has taken on a life of its own,” Smith said.
There there will be a fashion show for children, ages birth to 13, entitled Runway to Relay. It will take place on May 18 at Foothills Mall, and more details will come later on. It is changing a bit from last year’s pageant.
Mt. Lebanon has been the top fundraiser in the church category for many years and has also been the top fundraiser in all of the county. There are about 20 members on the team. But there is a support team that is much bigger, Smith said.
Smith just recently attended the Relay For Life kickoff held on the MC campus. She said there is still plenty of time to sign up for a team and participate.
Smith knows each person has their own reason for doing the Relay. She lost her dad to colon cancer many years ago. “If he had it now, things would be different because of the advances in research,” she said.
Every year, Holt said, there is a family member or friend who gets a cancer diagnosis. “We can’t give up the fight now,” she said.
It is an emotional setting at Relay to see so many people wearing the cancer survivor T-shirts. They are all invited to take the first lap at the annual fundraiser. Some are pushed in wheelchairs, are on crutches, or are recently bald because they are going through treatments.
Teams stay all night to take turns walking the course as a symbol that just as cancer never sleeps neither will we give up on finding a cure.
Smith sees the progress being made. People who would not have survived a cancer diagnosis 30 years ago now are.
“The one thing I have learned through all of this is if you catch it early, you can beat it. Cancer is not the death sentence it once was.”
So Smith and Holt are putting out the call for more people to sign up for Relay and for people to just come to the used book sale Friday and Saturday. You can browse, make a selection and leave knowing you had a part to play in the battle for more birthdays.
“I would love to see other people get to keep their moms where I had to give up mine,” Holt said.