Fighting Cancer

What began in 1985 as one man’s passion to make a difference in the fight against cancer has grown into the world’s largest non-profit fundraising movement, today involving more then 5,200 communities worldwide, including Warren County.

The power of one individual to truly make a difference is clearly seen in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, which has grown from one man and one walk to a truly global grassroots movement uniting more than 3.5 million participants in the US and 20 other countries. Relay for Life provides cancer survivors, their loved ones and caregivers and others who wish to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back against the disease, with an opportunity to come together and share in the message of hope.

This year Relay for Life commemorates its 29th year as well as Dr. Gordy Klatt’s 83 mile journey around a Tacoma, Wash. athletic track, where in walking, running and raising $27,000 for the American Cancer Society, the colorectal surgeon established an event that has made a difference in the lives of countless people he has never met. And still today, Dr. Klatt continues his involvement in Relay, despite the 2012 diagnosis of his own stomach cancer, reflecting the spirit of millions of Relayers around the globe.

Relay for Life participants’ unified call to action support the American Cancer Society’s 101 year commitment to save lives. The Society, the nation’s best-known voluntary health organization, helps people stay well, by preventing cancer or detecting it early; get well, by being in their corner through every step of their cancer experience, by finding cures, through groundbreaking research and treatment discoveries; and by fighting back, to influence public policy.

Relayers from Warren County will honor this legacy when they gather at Betts Park for an overnight Relay from 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 21, until 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 22. For the 19th year in Warren County, Relayers will celebrate loved ones who have battled cancer, remember those who have lost their lives, and commit to fight back against the disease.

Relay for Life provides Warren County a wonderful opportunity to participate in the American Cancer Society’s mission of promoting healthy life styles, saving lives and providing personal assistance to those affected by the cancer experience. There has been great progress on all these areas, and Relay gives Warren County the chance to make a difference in so many lives. This year Warren has 25 Teams participating who are working towards a fund raising goal of $93,000. At this time, more than $54,000 has been collected.

Cheryl and Rich Gruber, this years co-chairpersons, invite you, your family and friends to join them at the Relay for Life event at Betts Park and check out what we are all about.

Relay will start with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Team members will begin their laps around the track and will participate in many “fun” laps throughout the 24 hours. Teams, with the help of visitors, will be asked to make a cardboard car for the Road to Recovery Car Show, which will “drive” the track around 3:00 p.m.. That afternoon at 4:00 p.m. there will be a Fight Back Ceremony. At this time Relayers pledge to take action and spread awareness of cancer research, treatments and prevention. At 4:30 p.m. Survivor registration will begin followed by a Survivor reception at 5:30 p.m. The Survivor Ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. and will include the National Anthem sung by members of the local Barbershoppers, comments by guest speakers, Glenn (a cancer survivor) and Amy (a caregiver) Brooks, members of the ACS Voices of Hope. The reading of survivor names by members of the Cancer Center Team follows and concludes with a survivor lap, where survivors walk to celebrate their victory over cancer; a caregivers lap to recognize those who have given care to cancer patients; and then a team lap will conclude the ceremony.

A Luminaria Ceremony to honor loved ones who have passed or are fighting this disease will be held at 9 p.m. starting with the lighting of the luminaria bags around the track , the word “HOPE” spelled out with luminaria on the hillside and a PowerPoint presentation of their names and photos displayed on a giant screen. Luminaria bags may be purchased up until the ceremony, but those purchased that day will not be displayed on the screen. To order a luminaria bag in advance, contact a Team member or the ACS office at 723-5781.

Individual team member walking continues throughout the night. A worship service will be held at the Bocce courts at 7 a.m., coordinated by Rev. Doug McCracken, a member of the Warren Ministerial from the Warren Alliance Church. At 9 a.m. the teams will gather together for a Closing Ceremony followed by final laps.

While team members are walking there will be plenty to see and do. This years theme is “Summer Fun”, so expect team campsites to be decorated like some of your favorite summer activities. DJ., Matt Hanson of Warren will be providing music and entertainment throughout the event. There will be a number of games and activities available for kids of all ages in the central meeting area and at various team sites (for a minimal cost) which will continue throughout the day until dark, including a dunking booth. A “photo” scavenger hunt will be held a midnight. Raffles of many kinds will be available and include a Mystery raffle where many sites will have a wrapped mystery prize (valued at a minimum of $25) for which you can purchase tickets; drawing will be at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Auctions and items for sale will be available and there will be a variety of food, desserts, baked goods and drinks sold by the teams as part of their fund raising efforts.

We hope you will join us in this fun event. Again, the teams will walk through the night for a full 24 hours. Please come support the walkers. Parking will be available at the Relay site and will be fully illuminated for your convenience. This is a smoke-free and pet-free event. For more information call the American Cancer Society Office in Warren at 723-5781 or e-mail Marie Costello at marie.costello@cancer.org. For more information on Relay or the American Cancer Society visit www.cancer.org.