Ahoy mateys! Relay pushes cancer down the plankThe American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life of Pierce County celebrates the event’s 15th anniversary during the 2012 fundraising event March 23-24 at the River Falls High School.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
The American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life of Pierce County celebrates the event’s 15th anniversary during the 2012 fundraising event March 23-24 at the River Falls High School.
This year’s theme: Making cancer walk the plank -- argh!
Most people in the community -- whether they be a cancer survivor, an involved caretaker, friend or family of someone affected by cancer or a general supporter of ACS -- know what’s in store at the Relay each year: Teams walking the track all night to raise money for cancer research, honoring survivors and remembering victims, eating the Rotary spaghetti supper or the Lion’s Club hot breakfast, bidding on a large array of silent auction items and watching or participating in fun contests such as the Dude Looks Like a Lady competition or Hula Hoop endurance.
Cancer survivors always command the crowd’s attention as the long line of them appears and walks an honorary lap together -- and again when a few of them share their intense, personal stories.
Why do about 3.5 million people nationwide “do” the Relay?
According to ACS, the events celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost to the disease, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.
River Falls-based ACS representative Kellie Burrows provided information on the past 15 years of fundraising, which demonstrates growth each year. In its first year, the Relay generated $9,300; the total for 2011 was $170,000.
The total exceeded $100,000 for the first time in 2003 and has stayed well above that number each year.
A recap of other years:
- 2003…$128, 998
Burrows said the money helps people fight cancer by enabling ACS to invest in research, which over the past century has included discoveries such as cancer drugs, the bone-marrow transplant and the Pap test.
ACS offers information during all hours of the day and night that helps people take control of their health.
Funds also go toward advocating for public policy that makes fighting cancer a priority by allocating more funds to research, encouraging lawmakers to improve access to care and urging Congress to increase funding for cancer programs and pain-care education legislation.
People can get involved in many different ways -- as one of the dozens of committee volunteers who plan and organize the Relay, as a walker on a fundraising team, as an event sponsor or supporter, as a silent-auction donor. The fundraising process began long ago, and progress is tracked online.
For the local Relay for Life, there are 302 participants signed up, 39 fundraising teams formed and a fundraising total approaching $10,000.
Burrows, herself a cancer survivor, recalls her initial experience with the local event, Relay for Life of Pierce County: “When I went to my first Relay as a survivor in 2008, I couldn't believe all the community support. It was very healing and inspirational.
“Now four years later, it is an honor to work for an organization whose research helped save my life. I am forever grateful to all the wonderful volunteers, participants, sponsors and donors that make this such a wonderful community.”
Communicate with Relay organizers via e-mail at email@example.com.
Contact Relay chairperson Chris Blasius at 715-821-4916, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact ACS representative Burrows at 715-426-5448, email@example.com.
Learn more about the local Relay at its website online: www.relayforlifeRF.org.