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Relay kicks off ‘America for a Cure’

With stars, stripes and plenty of red-white-and-blue sparkle, there was no denying the patriotic atmosphere in First United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall Thursday night in Greenville.

The 2018 edition of Butler County’s Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society officially kicked off with this year’s theme “America for a Cure.”

Relay 2018 , scheduled for June 23 at the Butler County Fairgrounds, will definitely be one for the history books with a couple of “firsts” to be experienced in Butler County, said Event Lead Gerri McGinnis.

“For years and years we’ve held it on Mother’s Day weekend and this year we are moving to June, so that’s a big change. And this year will be our first daytime Relay, from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. That gives us four extra hours for activities that we didn’t have before and that will be great,” said McGinnis.

Some of the activities that are planned include a rematch of Adult Twister; last year’s new addition, the parade of human-operated floats; the return of the Relay Cook-off  with a variety of food categories; Relay Idol, plus a possible surprise or two along the way to be announced later, McGinnis explained.

Casey Rogers, Team Development Chair, reminded Team Captains that participation in Relay events and attendance at meetings will earn each Relay Team valuable points, or stars—stars that could earn them the coveted Spirit of Relay Award come June 23.

“But one of the first things you really, really need to do is get your team registered. You can do this online by going to www.relayforlife.org/butleral where they have greatly streamlined the process from past years. You can also do it by phone by calling 1-800-227-2345,” Rogers said.

When asked how many members needed to be on a Relay Team, Rogers said numbers are less important than effort put in by each member.

“Ideally, the ACS wants each Team to raise $1,000, which would be $100 per person if you have ten people. But you know, if a Team of eight raises only $800, that’s $800 more than we started with and I think that’s wonderful,” Rogers stressed.

“Remember, every dollar you raise, every minute you spend, every bit of effort put forward—it’s worth it in the fight against cancer.”

Team Captain Meetings are slated for the following dates, all to be hold at 5:30 p.m. at Beeland Park Recreational Center—Feb.22; March 22; April 26 and May 24.

“Our final Team Captain Meeting is June 21, which will also be our Bank Night and that location is still TBA,” said Rogers.

“We do encourage everyone to go ahead and turn in monies to Payne Meadows, our accounting chair, as fundraisers are held . . . we have that big Relay thermometer in front of the courthouse and we like to show progress as we are making progress.”

Last year’s goal for the county was $60,000, with $84,500 raised, and “that’s a lot of dollars for a population our size,” Rogers stressed.

A very important date for all Team Captains to keep in mind is April 20—the cutoff date for ordering tents for camp sites and for turning in t-shirt sizes.

Logistics chair Gary Newton shared a map of the event site and information about Sushine Tent Rentals.

“Sunshine did a great job last year. They came and put up all the tents in one day the week before Relay,” Newton said.

“Also, take a look at the map and you will see the brown dots indicating tents with access to electrical outlets. I imagine a lot of people will want to have some big fans with the event being in June, so keep this in mind when picking your tent site.”

Sunshine, who also offers discounts of tent rentals for the event, can be reached at 334-807-0248.

Ethelyn Watson, representing the Luminaria Committee, also touched on the availability of both Luminaria bags (minimum $5 donation) and Torches of Hope ($100 donation) to honor or remember loved ones. These will be included in the annual Luminaria Ceremony, scheduled for 9 p.m. Relay night.

“If you have never been to Relay before, this is really a beautiful sight, all those Luminarias and Torches glowing on the darkened track. It’s very moving,” Watson said.

Some Relay fundraisers already in the works are Abbie Ballew’s State Farm Team’s “My Cancer Hero” Walk/Run, slated for March 10 and Helping Hearts Miss Relay Pageant set for 2 p.m. (babies and children) and 7 p.m. (teens and adults) February 24 at the Ritz Theatre.

“We took this over when Harley’s Angels retired their team last year,” explained Helping Hearts Captain April Richey. “We encourage everyone to participate . . . and the girl chosen Miss Relay will be expected to represent ACS at events leading up to Relay and at Relay.”

Cancer survivors and their caregivers are encouraged to attend the Survivors’ Luncheon slated for June 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Walnut Street Church of Christ.

“This annual event is co-sponsored by L.V. Stabler’s Healthy Circle and Priester’s Pecans, and if you are not already on our list, please contact  me . . . we will also have a special tent at Relay and offer VIP parking for survivors at the event,” said Linda Hummel, Survivorship Chair.

For additional information or to ask questions related to Relay For Life 2018 “America for a Cure,” contact Casey Rogers at 334-525-0556 or Gerri McGinnis at 334-328-1176.