ELIZABETHTOWN — A Bladen County gala is growing by leaps and bounds.
In its second year, the Valentine Gala Cancer Benefit, sponsored by the Lisbon Community Relay for Life team, saw almost a 100 percent increase over last year.
“This is our hope, to just keep getting bigger and bigger every year,” said Lisbon Community Team leader Mary Carter Williams. “We’re very pleased with the turnout this year.”
At 2016’s inaugural event, around 90 people showed up in support of eradicating cancer. This year, around 160 tickets were sold for the event.
Former First Baptist Church of Elizabethtown pastor Cliff Freeman and wife Deanna returned from Camden, N.J., to serve as master and mistress of ceremony. On Saturday, Freeman spoke of God as Healer and Deliverer.
As guests arose for dinner, they were called by table, each of which had a different color ribbon tied around chairs. Each color stood for a different type of cancer, such as colon cancer or brain cancer.
The armory — the site of the gala — held a table off to the side laden with gifts. Door prizes were given throughout the night, gifts were given for knowing something about the type of cancer designed by the ribbons at each table, and raffles were held throughout the evening. Gifts ranged from fruit baskets to gift cards.
“We just want to make it fun for everybody who comes,” said Williams.
Held last year at a church, Williams said they moved the event this year in order to “free people up so they might dance.” After dining on stew beef, potatoes, green beans, and dessert provided by Cindy’s in Elizabethtown, the floor did, in fact, became the site of entertainment and dancing. After Mrs. Hattie delighted guests, DJ Leon McMillan, AKA “Easy Lee,” emceed the rest of the evening.
As the evening drew to a close, cancer survivor Glenda Lennon honored other survivors, and the Freemans led the group in remembering those who have lost their lives to the disease.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.