Monday, August 3, 2015

Teams urged to join ‘Relay’

With warmer weather approaching, it’s a sign the annual “Relay for Life” is right around the corner.
As such, organizers now have the push on to start recruiting teams—recently hosting an information/registration night.

“We’re generating a lot of interest,” committee member Christine Denby noted.
“We have a bunch of team kits handed out but we just need people to register,” she remarked.
This year’s “Relay,” set for June 20-21 at Fort Frances High School, is an inspirational, non-competitive, 12-hour overnight fundraiser that brings people and their communities together to celebrate life and to fight cancer.
Featuring a festival-like atmosphere that family, friends, and co-workers can enjoy regardless of their age or fitness level, the event involves teams of about 10 people who take turns walking, running, or strolling around a track.
Teams consist of people representing corporations, communities, families, and friends.
“We are really excited about this year’s ‘Relay,’” said co-organizer Jennifer Anderson.
She noted they’re looking at a few changes this year, such as hosting the survivors’ dinner on site so they can partake in more of the events.
This year’s theme, meanwhile, is “Remember, Celebrate, Fight Back,”
“These are the words on the ‘Relay’ flags every year,” Anderson explained.
“What we’re doing is asking the teams to tell us why they ‘Relay,’” she remarked.
“Do they ‘Relay’ for someone who is currently fighting cancer? Do they ‘Relay’ in memory of someone?
“Are they celebrating someone’s victory over cancer?
“We’d like them to really personalize it this year and tell us their story,” Anderson said.
She conceded carnival and movie themes can be really fun, but organizers want to focus this year on the purpose behind the event.
A dozen teams already have signed up but the organizers are looking for more.
“It’s always a fun event and we’re hoping to see lots of involvement this year,” Anderson enthused, noting it would be really great to get more than 20 teams participating this year.
Last year, 18 teams took part and raised more than $80,000. So Anderson is hoping to exceed that amount this year.
“The more, the merrier,” she stressed.
Anderson said the significance of the overnight event is that cancer doesn’t stop for nighttime.
“‘Relay’ starts at dusk and ends at the next day’s morning,” she explained.
“The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotion, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.”
For instance, when “Relay” begins as the sun is setting, that symbolizes the time the person has been diagnosed as having cancer.
“They feel that their life is coming to an end,” Anderson said.
As the evening goes on, it represents the patient undergoing treatment when they are exhausted, sometimes sick, and possibly wanting to give up.
“As a participant who has been walking, you are tired, want to sleep, maybe want to go home, but you cannot stop or give up,” she stressed.
Towards the end of the “Relay,” it represents the coming to the end of the cancer treatment for a patient—when they see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“You will feel the brightness of morning and know the end of the ‘Relay’ is close at hand,” she reasoned.
“Remember, there is no finish line until we find a cure.”
Despite the seriousness of the event, Anderson said plenty of fun activities will be planned to keep up the spirits of participants.
She indicated they’re looking to have a talent/variety show, instead of “Relay Idol,” which they’ve had for the past few years.
“So people will be able to do a skit, juggle, anything they want to do,” she explained.
In addition, teams that sign up to participate in the “Relay” are encouraged to hold fundraisers to raise money prior to the event.
Anderson noted they’ll be holding a garage sale on May 24.
Another incentive for perspective teams is that those who register online, and set a minimum $100 fundraising goal by May 15, will be entered into a draw to have $1,000 added to their team fundraising total.
The $1,000 donation is sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts.
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