By Sara Butterfass
DELANO, MN Celebrate. Remember. Fight back. This is the motto of Relay for Life. Relay for Life is an event that raises money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) in support of cancer research.
The purpose of the relay is to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and be inspired by their strength, remember those loved ones who have been claimed by cancer, and to fight back in the hopes of finding a cure.
Relays are held in every state across the US with more than 5,000 being held each year. The ACS is proud to host an event that brings more than 3.5 million people together in the fight against cancer.
This year Delano will be hosting its fifth consecutive Relay for Life Friday, July 31 to Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Delano City Park.
Friday morning, at 10:30 a.m. campground set-up will begin. Team registration will begin at 4 p.m., as well as the Lions Dinner, which is free for the registered participants.
At 4:30 p.m., there will be team activities at the campgrounds, music by Mike Merriman, and a silent auction, which will close at 9:30 p.m.
The Prairie Boys will perform beginning at 6 p.m.
The official start of the relay will follow the opening ceremony at 7 p.m., the survivor picture at 7:35 p.m., and the survivor lap at 7:40 p.m.
At 7:50 p.m., a reception for the survivors will take place at the Pavilion.
A volleyball tournament for registered members only and sponsored by Dave’s Town Club will begin at 8 p.m. and end around 5 a.m.
Bobby Houle and the Jim Beam Express will perform from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.
The luminary ceremony will take place at the band stage at 9 p.m.
At 10:15 p.m., the silent auction items may be claimed and the bonfire will start.
Bingo will begin at 11 p.m. and go until 5 a.m. The pajama/teddy bear lap will also be at this time.
At 11:30 p.m., a red light/green light lap will take place, as well as a team captain meeting at the check-in area.
Events for Saturday include the Mexican midnight lap and the Mexican medallion hunt at midnight.
Beginning at 1 a.m., there will be a lap of beach/tropical/Hawaiian attire, followed by a frozen T-shirt contest at 2 a.m.
At 3 a.m., the 3-legged race, sponsored by team “Family Ties” will begin.
Themed laps begin at 3:30 a.m. with another red light/green light, followed by the crazy hat lap at 4 a.m., the patriotic lap at 4:30 a.m., and the YMCA lap at 5 a.m..
Yoga will be conducted beginning at 5:30 a.m.
Breakfast will be served by the teams at 5:45 a.m. with a morning wake-up call scheduled for 6 a.m.
The closing ceremony will end the relay at 6:15 a.m.
As of July 14, Delano’s relay had fund-raised $37,036, with events such as garage sales, tupperware parties, bake sales, as well as other activities.
The goal for this year is $115,000. Last year, they raised a net of $105,000; the most in Delano’s five-year history.
Brea Atkinson, the Community Relations representative for the ACS, Midwest Division said, “Delano has proven that even though the economy might be slowing down, the fight against cancer only gets stronger. Nationwide, fund-raising for Relay for Life is definitely down, but the Delano Relay for Life once again continues to defy the odds.”
With 32 teams already signed up, and with anywhere from 1 to 15 people on each team, the number of participants is currently close to 400.
Teams can still sign up until Friday, July 24 and receive the Relay for Life T-shirt. After that, individuals may sign up the day of the event, paying the $10 registration fee, which entitles the individual to participate in registrants-only events throughout the night.
Co-chair Lynn Bartels, who has worked with the Delano Relay since it began, said she got involved because her mother-in-law had been diagnosed for the third time with cancer, and her sister-in-law was ending treatment, when the first relay committee was looking for people to help.
“You can be a great support person for those who are fighting this disease, but being involved in the relay lets you also give back to the community by helping find a cure so that others hopefully, one day won’t have to hear those words, ‘You have cancer,’” Bartels reflected about the event.
This year’s honorary chair is Will Pogue, a 4-year-old who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2007.
Will is now in remission.
Interested in donating?
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Delano Relay for Life can do so by coming out on the relay night and participating in the activities at each campsite, committee events, or by visiting www.relayforlife.org/DelanoMN.
All donations to support the 2009 relay need to be received by the American Cancer Society no later than Monday, Aug. 31, 2009.
The Lia Sophia Jewelry fund-raiser is an ongoing fund-raiser being conducted by team Will’s Warriors, and will continue until Thursday, July 30.
Orders can be placed online at www.liasophia.com/jamiepogue, or by calling Jamie at (763) 244-4076. One hundred percent of jewelry sales will go toward Will’s Warriors’ fund-raising effort.