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Relay for Life teams needed

By Staff | Feb 17, 2010

The word is out . . . teams are needed for the 2010 Relay For Life of Tyler County.

With the date of the Relay, June 25, quickly approaching, Chairmen of the local event are looking for teams to add to the county effort.

Relay For Life is the main cancer volunteer-driven fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. The objective of the Relay is to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients. This event is held annually to spread cancer awareness, celebrate the lives of survivors, remember those who have lost their lives to cancer and to unite communities in the fight against cancer.

Relay for Life is run by volunteers. Chairpersons oversee “teams” of volunteers who raise money for the American Cancer Society. Funds raised benefit cancer research grants and programs, prevention programs, community/patient support programs, detection and treatment programs, etc.

Toni VanCamp is the chairman for the Tyler County Relay For Life, and is assisted by her co-chair, Patty Henthorn. “Another Birthday is this years theme,” VanCamp said.

“A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays. We’re celebrating, and we want to invite everyone to take part.”

Teams, usually from 5-18 individuals, are made up of people from all walks of life, all ages, and all lifestyles.

Teams can be made up of family members, business associates, co- workers, friends, scout troops, clubs and organizations . . . high school sports groups or clubs, church groups, sewing circles, coffee clubs . . . any group of people willing to help fight cancer by participating in this worthy cause.

These teams generally come up with a name, such as “Star Brites” or “Purple Haze” etc., and begin fundraising for the ACS. Teams have come up with very unique fundraisers over the years from “Flushing away Cancer” (placing toilets in yards for donations), to “Track your Laps” (selling beads per lap walked on track) to garage sales, yards sales, car washes, and everything else under the sun.

Each team attends their local all night Relay event of the year, which is held at a local park, track, or trail. Individuals walk the tracks or trails while at the event throughout the night, to remind one and all, that cancer never sleeps.

Groups or individuals are not required to walk a certain distance or amount of laps, they are merely asked to participate in the event.

Teams can also set up tables in small areas to raise extra funds for the Relay.

The 2010 Relay For Life of Tyler County will be held on June 25 from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. at Tyler Consolidated High School’s Knight Stadium.

In general, the Relay For Life main event creates a sense of bringing people together for a common cause, in a moving and fun atmosphere.

Each Relay begins with a survivors lap, in which survivors are invited to walk the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories that have been achieved over cancer.

It is a way of saying that more lives are saved each year – just like those of each individual on the track. Survivors are encouraged to participate at Relays as special, honored guests.

“Survivors are the reason we do this,” said Henthorn. “We need more survivors.”

When darkness falls, a luminaria ceremony is always held at Relay’s. Those people who have been touched by cancer are honored and loved ones lost to the disease are remembered. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer. Participants often walk a lap of the track or trail in silence.

Finally, there is a “fight back” ceremony, where personal commitments to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer are made.

Cancer is indiscriminate and knows no boundaries. The fight is more successful every year and thanks to that fight, more birthdays will be celebrated this year.

The Tyler County Relay For Life of Tyler County will kick off the 2010 campaign on Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. at the Sistersville Baptist Church (basement). Teams and team members are needed to continue the battle against cancer. Sixteen teams participated in the Relay last year, and the chairman and co-chairman are hoping to top that number.

“Anybody can form a team,” VanCamp said. “They don’t have to be an official group affiliated with an organization. It can be a few members of a family forming a team, scouts, or just a group of friends.”

“We need teams.”

Interested individuals are asked to contact VanCamp at 304-771-2506, or Henthorn at 304-771-0771 for more information, or to start or join a team.

Information can also be gained by visiting the groups website at: www.relayforlife.org /tylerwv or their Facebook page, Relay for Life of Tyler County 2010.