BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Change is coming to the Delano Relay For Life.
A big change is that the relay is moving from a Friday to a Saturday, July 16, to be exact.
Local organizers are inviting the community to kick off relay season from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at Light of Christ Lutheran Church.
The event will feature food, door prizes, “Minute to Win it”-style games and speaker Mike Garland at 2 p.m.
Garland pedaled his bike nearly 4,000 miles from Becker to Ashland, OR, and back to raise nearly $15,000 for the American Cancer Society. He said he decided to make the trip in memory of his dad, uncle, and grandfather, as well as many other relatives and friends who have had cancer or are in remission.
The purpose of the kickoff is to get the community more familiar with the relay.
“It’s so people can be aware of what the relay has to offer and to sign up if they’d like,” said Jess Tousignant, team leader of the Real A Girls. “It’s just about getting community awareness out there because it seems like so many people don’t know we have it, even though we’ve had it for many years. The kickoff is to get everyone excited for a new year of fundraising. It’s for teams to come together and to form new teams.”
Tousignant said she began volunteering with the relay on a whim.
“I joined because I saw an article in the paper saying they needed volunteers,” Tousignant said. “I got a call from work saying I didn’t need to work. I had a Friday night off, so I went down and volunteered. This is my 10th year now.”
Tousignant hopes other volunteers will come forward, whether at the kickoff or any other time leading up to the July 16 event.
“All volunteers are welcome,” Tousignant said. “No matter what their commitment level is, we can find a spot for them. Sometimes people feel like, ‘If I go down there, I’ll have to do this or that.’ We’ll fill you in wherever we can . . . We appreciate anyone that can come and help at all. Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. By helping the relay, you’re helping others in the end.”
Tousignant said organizers want everyone involved to have a good time at the kickoff and the relay itself.
“We’re trying to make this one bigger than it has been in the past,” Tousignant said of the relay. “We want it to be fun. The more fun we have, the more people will be interested. We’re trying to bring the fun back and raise a lot of money and awareness along the way.”