Worrell receives top Relay award

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kathy Worrell, a co-chairwoman for Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life, receives the 2010 Terry Zahn Spirit of Relay Ward from Jean Zahn, left, who is cancer victim Terry Zahn's widow, and Michele Couch, Regional Executive Director for the American Cancer Society. The award is given to three volunteers annually in Hampton Roads, who host 22 Relay for Life events.

NORFOLK—Kathy Worrell was dead-set on going to her High Street Methodist Church choir practice on Thursday night.

Jim Jervey, who along with Worrell served as co-chairmen for the 2010 Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life, convinced her to go to an American Cancer Society appreciation event in Norfolk instead. Upon arriving, Worrell was shocked to be recognized as one of three top volunteers for 22 Relay for Life events held in 2010 in Hampton Roads.

“It floored me,” Worrell said about receiving the prestigious Terry Zahn Spirit of Relay Award in memory of the Norfolk TV anchor who toured the nation promoting the ACS fundraiser .

“It was a very nice honor,” Worrell said. “I feel like it should go to the whole Relay. We have a really great Relay committee and everyone is very passionate about what they do.”

Becky Plate, a community manager for ACS in Virginia Beach who oversees the Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life, nominated Worrell.

“Kathy so deserves it,” Plate said. “She works extremely hard — this is volunteerism. Kathy does a little bit of everything. She puts her heart and soul into it. She’s amazing.”

Jervey echoed Plate’s comments.

“She just really brought a lot of life and rejuvenation to our Relay,” Jervey said. “She puts together a very moving and wonderful survivor dinner for a program on Friday night before the Relay. Kathy just kind of does everything for us. She is very skilled.”

The 2010 Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life raised $132,259. The event has raised more than $2 million since its inception in 1995.

Jean Zahn, widow to Terry Zahn who remains very active in Relay for Life, presented the award to Worrell.

“It was quite an honor to receive the award, especially since it was presented by Jean,” Worrell said. “However, the award really should go to our entire Relay committee — we all work together as a group — each person brings their own gifts and talents together to make our Relay what it is. I am very proud to be a part of the Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life — it is a great group of people who are passionate about ending an awful disease.”

The Terry Zahn Spirit Award is given in honor of his passion and commitment to the Relay For Life. Zahn was first diagnosed with cancer in the late 1990s. Prior to his diagnosis, he had been active in planning the Hampton Roads area Relay for Life and a supporter of the American Cancer Society.

Terry Zahn served on the Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach Board of Directors and was a member of the National Advisory Committee for Relay for Life. Zahn toured the United States to promote Relay for Life and continued his involvement until his death.