Relay for Life overnight event fundraiser for ACS

(May 8, 2015) Hundreds of participants will gather at the Frontier Town Campground in West Ocean City, Friday, May 8, for the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life, which celebrates beating cancer, remembers loved ones who lost their battle and shows support for people who are currently fighting the disease.

The 2015 North Worcester County Relay For Life is an all-night walk kicking off at 6 p.m.

“This event is the signature event of American Cancer Society because it raises research money for all cancers as well as celebrates all cancer survivors and gives our community a chance to remember those we have lost to cancer,” said Dawn Hodge, event co-chairwoman.

The theme for this year’s overnight celebration is “Saving Lives Since ’85.”

“The original Relay for Life was started in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash. by a man named Dr. Gordy Klatt. Therefore, it is the 30th anniversary of Relay this year. Sadly, Dr. Klatt lost his own fight with cancer this past year,” Hodge said.

Each team will have its own campsite with water and electricity, courtesy of Frontier Town. All members will decorate using the ‘80s theme, in addition to incorporating preventative measures such as not smoking and eating healthy. Information about research, education and advocacy will also be ideas for the campsites, she added.

Individuals and teams can register at the event starting at 4 p.m. and there is no fee to participate.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 41 teams with 258 participants have signed up. Relay for Life will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and continue until 6 a.m. Saturday.

The goal for 2015 is to have 130 survivors in attendance and to generate $160,000 for the American Cancer Society. Approximately $90,319 has been raised as of Monday, Hodge said.

“We are thrilled to have teams and friends that return year after year,” she said. “Everyone is touched by cancer at some time in their life and in some way. It is often when they will turn to an event such as Relay for Life to find comfort, a place to celebrate they beat cancer and to grieve or fight back by fundraising so that one day their children will not have to hear ‘you have cancer.’”

Participants have until Aug. 31 to submit their final donations and Hodge said “there is no better place to fundraise than a busy resort community.”

During the 12-hour fundraiser, team members will take turns walking laps around the campground track.

“We strive for each team to have at least one member walking the track throughout the night,” Hodge said. “However, this is not a requirement as teams will also be busy with on-site fundraisers and activities being held in the middle of the track.”

Every time a registered participant walks a full lap, they receive a raffle ticket, which will enter them into a drawing for a large screen television donated by the Vault/the Voice Radio Network.

The lucky participant will be announced at the 6 a.m. closing ceremonies and they must be present to win.

In 2014, 47 teams and 311 registered participants, came out to Relay For Life, helping to raise about $145,000 for the organization. Another 100 unregistered people were in attendance last year as well. Throughout the past 17 years, North Worcester County’s Relay has donated more than $1 million to the American Cancer Society.

Relay for Life’s 2015 opening ceremony kicks off at 6 p.m. Cancer survivors will walk the ceremonial first lap of the night, the “Survivors Lap,” while they are cheered on by other participants in celebration of their victory over cancer.

Survivors will be joined by their caregivers for the second lap of the evening. Teams will display their banners on the third lap and children will walk during the fourth lap. In honor of Mother’s Day, the fifth lap is designated to moms and the sixth lap will honor breast cancer survivors.

A reception for cancer survivors will take place at 6:30 p.m. after the first couple of laps with music provided by DJ Brian K. Hall from 93.5 The Beach.

As an incentive to walk, there are multiple theme laps including “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Walking on Sunshine,” a friendship lap, “Orange Golf Race” and “Richard Simmons- Look Good Feel Better” (wear your wigs and short shorts).

The final walk around the track will be the “BEEP BEEP” lap, which represents the road to recovery for all survivors and those still battling.

An abundance of children’s activities will be taking place from 7-8:15 p.m. including ladder ball, neon ping pong toss, a hula hoop contest, balloon pop and a spoon race, just to name a few.

Children will be invited to make crafts at the survivor tent from 9-10 p.m. and a bounce house will be available from 5-11 p.m. Look forward to bingo, a scavenger hunt and a hayride as well.

The Luminaria Ceremony of Remembrance begins at 8:15 p.m. in honor and remembrance of a loved one or friend who has been touched by cancer, Hodge said.

A heartfelt candle lighting ceremony takes place at dusk with a suggested donation of $10 a bag and $25 a tiki torch, which can be purchased at the event from 4-7:30 p.m.

“Invite family and friends to join you in lighting your light at this very moving ceremony or we will light it for you,” she added.

A sunrise celebration will take place at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning with closing ceremonies following at 6 a.m.

“If you never witnessed an actual relay, it’s a very emotional night,” said BJ’s on the Water owner Maddy Carder, who along with her husband Billy, a cancer survivor, are honorary event chairs and speakers at this year’s North Worcester County Relay for Life. “Everyone come out and celebrate life. We all know someone who has cancer whether it be your mother, a friend or brother. It’s a fun day to celebrate your best friend who beat cancer or immortalize someone in your memory.”

For more information, contact Jill Elliott or 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.

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.

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