May 22, 2002 | By: Haven Miller

Unusually wet, cold and windy May weather conditions didn't sway them from their goal.

Huddled in a small tent and preparing to join a 24-hour Relay For Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Kentucky's state 4-H officers said a little bit of sloppy, miserable weather was nothing compared to what people with cancer face.

"I'm a cancer survivor myself, and so I know how important an event like this is in raising donations and awareness for this disease which affects nearly every family," said Travis Scott, 4-H state secretary from Johnson County.

With his leukemia in remission since 1985, Scott said there is another personal reason he was sticking it out at the Relay For Life.

"The adult who founded the state teen council we work with, 4-H specialist Dennis Goodman, died of leukemia two years ago and tonight we hope to light a candle in his memory during the luminary service here," he said.

Another state officer, treasurer Jeremy Hankins of Boone County, said the Relay For Life started at the county level where he and other 4-H teen council members spent hours contacting local churches, businesses and individuals for donations that support the Cancer Society's mission.

"This is something nice to do for the community, and it helps families be more successful in their fight against cancer," Hankins said. His family and also the family of 4-Her David Harris have both been touched by the disease.

"Anything I can do to help support the cause, that helps support research and development, and that ultimately saves lives is worth being here no matter what the weather is like," said Harris, a UK sophomore from Oldham County who is also a member of the state 4-H teen council.

More than 90 teams participated in Fayette County's Relay For Life. Fayette was just one county among many across the state holding the event that same evening. Teams represented for-profit and non-profit organizations, and each team made sure at least one member was walking laps around the designated track at any given time during the 24-hour event.

"It's a very family oriented event, with people of all ages," said Heather Baber, associate communications director for the American Cancer Society. "Cancer never sleeps, so we don't either, and these teams will trudge through all kinds of obstacles and never give up, just like cancer patients."

Relay For Life events will take place at various locations throughout the state until early August.