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Relay for Life kicks off tonight

(May 9, 2014) The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is an annual all-night walk and gathering that brings together hundreds–if not thousands–of people to celebrate survivorship, remember loved ones who lost their battle with cancer and show support to those currently fighting the disease.

The 2014 North Worcester County Relay For Life is scheduled to take place this evening, May 9, at Frontier Town Campground, located off Route 611 in West Ocean City.

“It’s a way to participate with your community to help raise money in the fight against cancer,” said Dawn Hodge, event co-chairwoman.

The theme for the overnight party is “Life is Good.” Each team will have its own campsite that members can decorate to represent the theme.

“Teams can decorate any way they want. What ever ‘Life is Good’ means to you,” Hodge said.

Teams may still register for a campsite. Registration begins at 4 p.m. today, Friday. Individuals are also invited to participate.

“We have teams of one up to a dozen or more,” Hodge said.

According to www.relayforlife.org-/northworcestermd as of Tuesday, 42 teams (approximately 267 people) had signed up for the event, which will begin tonight at and continue until 6 a.m. Saturday. The goal for 2014 is to have 124 survivors attend and to generate $160,000 for the American Cancer Society. Approximately $117,000 had been raised as of Tuesday, Hodge said.

“Teams have been doing a good job raising money,” she said.

Many teams participating this year have taken part in the event before. A number of those teams have new members this year, Hodge said.

This year, participants will have until Aug. 31, to submit their final donations. Hodge encourages all participants to continue their fundraising efforts throughout the spring and summer.

During the 12-hour fundraiser, members of each team will take turns walking laps around the campground track. Hodge said the laps have been revamped this year. Hundreds of walkers will participate and help to raise money for cancer research, awareness, advocacy, patient services and educational programs in the area.

Every time a registered participant walks a full lap, he/she will be entered for the chance to win a trip for two with airfare included, to San Francisco, Ca., sponsored by Great Scott Broadcasting. The winner will be announced during the closing ceremonies. The winner must be present.

In 2013, 57 teams (approximately 413 people), including 106 survivors, participated in Relay, helping to raise about $140,000 for the organization. During the past 16 years, North Worcester County’s Relay has donated approximately $1.8 million to the American Cancer Society.

The 2014 Relay for Life will officially begin with an opening ceremony at 6 p.m.

Cancer survivors will walk the ceremonial first lap of the night, the “Survivors’ Lap.” A reception for cancer survivors will follow with music provided by Rick Kennedy.

Survivors will be joined by their caregivers and supporters for the second lap of the evening. Team captains will walk the third lap. The fourth lap is for children, and in honor of Mother’s Day, the fifth lap of the night will be dedicated to moms.

Themes for some of the other laps include “Road to Recovery,” “Blow Away Cancer,” “Leap Frog,” “Selfie” (#relayforlife) and “Aloha” (wear your best Hawaiian shirt and grass skirt). The final walk around the track will be the “Celebrate every day like it is your birthday” lap because the American Cancer Society “is the official sponsor of birthdays. ACS helps people celebrate more birthdays by saving lives, by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back.”

Other activities scheduled throughout the night include a scavenger hunt, talent show, BINGO and hayrides. Hodge said a number of surprises are also planned. Participants can also purchase a $10 raffle ticket for the chance to win a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA. The drawing will take place Oct. 12.

Many of the teams will also hold fundraisers throughout the evening.

The Luminary Ceremony of Remembrance will take place at 8:15 p.m. Luminaria, which will line the track illuminating the night, will be available to purchase from 4-7:30 p.m. Bags cost $10, and tiki torches $25. Participants are invited to light candles in memory of, or in honor of, a loved one.

The “Fight Back Ceremony” will follow at 8:45 p.m., led by Pastor Tina Whaley of Bates United Methodist Church in Snow Hill.

The closing ceremonies will take place at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

For more information, contact Jill Elliott or Dawn Hodge at chilly@dmv.com, dawnhodge@comcast.net or 410-430-8131, 443-497-1198 or visit www.relayforlife.org/northworcestermd. Search “Relay For Life North Worcester County Maryland” on Facebook.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved indoors to Most Blessed Sacrament School, off Route 589 in Berlin. Check the Web site or Facebook page for updates.

Approximately four million people participate annually in Relay for Life in more than 5,200 communities. Relay takes place not only in the U.S., but in more than 20 countries as well.

Survivors walk the ceremonial first lap during the 2013 North Worcester County Relay For Life at Frontier Town Campground in West Ocean City. The 2014 event will begin at 6 p.m. tonight, Friday.

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