Relay for Life begins '07 fundraising

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The 2007 South Barry County Relay for Life fundraising effort is already underway, but there is still time to join local citizens in the fight against cancer.

"I have 20 teams that have signed up to participate in this year's event," said Marcia Himes, South Barry County Relay for Life chairman. "Last year, we had 16 teams, so we are doing pretty good so far.

"We've also had a great response from our corporate supporters," said Himes. "This year, our goal is $60,000. I think everything is going very well."

This is Himes' first year leading the South Barry County Relay for Life planning committee. Last year, she served as St. John's Hospital-Cassville Relay for Life team captain.

"Last year, on Relay night, Kendra Gray, (of the American Cancer Society) asked me to serve as chairman," said Himes.

"My father died from lung cancer when I was 14 years old and then later my stepfather died from lymphoma, so this is a very personal thing for me," said Himes. "Plus, I think it is a great way to raise money and a lot of fun."

The 2007 Relay for Life event is scheduled to begin at the Cassville Football Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 13 and end at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 14.

Each year, the Relay for Life event begins with the Survivor's Lap. Last year, around 60 survivors participated in the opening ceremony. Himes would like to see more survivors participate in activities this year.

"Survivors can sign up to participate in the Relay any time between now and the event," said Himes. "Also, if anyone knows a survivor that might want to participate, they can submit their information and we can contact them."

The South Barry County Relay for Life planning committee is planning to honor participating survivors with a special Survivor's Dinner prior to opening ceremonies on July 13. This will be the second year that the honorary dinner has been held.

Survivors interested in participating in the 2007 Relay for Life event or attending the Survivor's Dinner can contact Himes at 342-0028 to register.

"The night of the Relay we will have the slideshow presentation in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer," said Himes. "This will go along with the luminarias. Anyone who would like to submit a photo for the slideshow with their luminaria information is welcome to do so."

Luminarias can be purchased from any Relay for Life team member or by calling Himes. Luminarias, which cost $5 each, will be displayed around the Cassville Football Stadium track on the night of the Relay event. A special honorary ceremony will be held after dark on July 13.

This year's Relay event will also include the annual basket auction, Relay Queen Contest and many other fun events, said Himes.

Tentative closing ceremony plans include the formal Relay for Life awards ceremony. Participants will be recognized for the most funds raised by an individual, the most funds raised by a team, the best campsite and the most team spirit.

Last year, the South Barry County Relay for Life raised over $53,000 for the American Cancer Society. Since the event's inception in Cassville, Relay for Life fundraising efforts have raised over $200,000.

Relay for Life offers Barry County community members an opportunity to join the fight against cancer. The 12-hour event invites teams of eight to 15 people to walk, jog or run the Cassville track overnight. Individuals can also participate in the relay.

Relay for Life teams set up interesting camps for the 12-hour event. Several teams sell food and gift items, while other teams host games for interested participants.

Barry County community members interested in participating in the 2007 Relay for Life who have not signed up yet should contact Himes or plan to attend a Relay for Life meeting.

The next team captains meeting is scheduled to be held in the St. John's Hospital-Cassville conference room at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, May 14.

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