RELAY FOR LIFE A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS
Rochester area residents raise more than $148,000 to fight cancer
This year’s Relay For Life of Greater Rochester was a huge success, raising more than $148,000 for cancer research, education, advocacy and service; surpassing the group's goal for the year by more than $22,000.00.
More than 650 Rochester area residents rallied together to fight against cancer by participating in 13th annual Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature event, June 23rd and 24that Hart Middle School
During the 24 hour event, teams of local individuals gathered on the track of Hart Middle School and took turns walking, jogging, or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times. Most teams set up tents, decorate their campsites with a theme, bring food and overall just have a great time! There is entertainment throughout the event and a DJ on hand all night long as well as food, kid’s games, celebrating the lives of cancer survivors, remembering loved ones lost to cancer and fighting back against a disease that has taken too much from too many.
“Relay was an inspiring event. The sheer number of people that came to support survivors and caregivers as they took their victory lap and the families there to remember loved ones lost to the disease by lighting a luminaria truly offered hope that one day cancer will not be a major health problem,” said Lisa Sage, Event Chairperson, “Overnight, our lives were changed forever.”
The event kicked off at 9:00 am Saturday morning with the Opening Ceremony led by Event Chair Lisa Sage and ACS Staff Partner Rachel Leas. Following, Rochester Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Cuthbertson shared his heartfelt thoughts on what Relay for Life means to the community.
Again this year, Evan Conover, a graduate of Stoney Creek High School, sang the National Anthem and VFW Post 3908 led the Opening Flag Ceremony. And, then a record 44 teams were off for their first lap and the event was officially in full swing!
Later in the afternoon, the Fight Back ceremony took place as Bob Grace inspired Relay participants to make their own commitment and challenged them to take a personal pledge of action (e.g., stop smoking, eat more healthily, exercise regularly, etc.) to fight back.
Each of the teams donated items for a Live Auction, held in the afternoon, raising an additional $1710.00 towards the event goal.
Throughout the event, the individual teams held individual fundraising activities including a Bounce House from the Rochester Area Jaycees & Friends, Zumba class lead by Jen Breen and Liz Martinez, wheel chair rides from the Crittenton Team, as well as many other fun activities for the whole family.
Guests also enjoyed the entertainment coordinated by Sam Riethmeier, including the band 5X, Group Therapy, the acoustic duo Carl and Sarah, and then Team Cancer Cadets l performed. Later in the afternoon a Decade Dance party was held, comedian James Craven also performed, followed by live music from Beck Nell Music, Karaoke by Liz and then DJ Sbert who provided music through the late night and early morning hours.
At the heart of Relay For Life are two ceremonies that pay tribute to those who have battled cancer. The first of these is the Survivor’s Victory Lap which was led by committee member Patty DeShetler. Survivors, whether currently in treatment or long-time recovery, joined together with past and present caregivers to walk a lap around the track. As the nearly 75 cancer survivors and 40 caretakers walked a celebratory lap around the track together, they were cheered on by a track lined with friends, family members and Relay For Life participants applauding their victory. Each year, survivors also come back to add this year’s date next to their handprints on the Survivor quilt. In addition, this year a new Caregivers quilt was also started and will continue alongside the Survivors quilt.
The second is the Luminaria Ceremony, which is held at sundown and was led by Cheryl Satterthwaite. All participants and guests are asked to take a single lap in silence as the more than 1125 luminaria, lit in honor and in memory of those who have battled cancer or in support of a caregiver, glow around the track. The candles continued to burn throughout the night, lighting a path that will one day lead to a cure.
The event then returned to a more upbeat feel as the music livened and everyone took another lap around the track. The upbeat mood continued through out the evening as teams participated in activities and laps around the track.
Morning brought the Sunrise Service led by Deacon Steve Smith from Living Word Lutheran Church & School, followed by a Pancake Breakfast provided by the City of Rochester and Rochester Hill’s Fire Departments. The event then came to an end at 9:00 am Sunday morning with the Closing Ceremony.
The 2012 Relay for Life committee it grateful to the numerous community members, cancer survivors, caregivers, teams and individuals that helped make this Relay For Life such a huge success.
The event sponsors included Platinum sponsor; Volkswagen Group of America, Gold Sponsors; Crittenton Hospital, McLaren Cancer Institute and Soft Rock 105.1, Silver Sponsors; Meijer, Rochester Area Jaycees Junior Chamber, Rochester College, SRR (Stour/Risius/Ross), The Oakland Press and WSU Family Care. Bronze Sponsor; ThyssenKrupp System Engineering, Inc. And, Copper Sponsors; Auburn Animal Hospital, Mary Purcell, Realtor, TCF Bank and Walgreens.
The committee would also like to recognize the three highest fundraising teams, in order, Eddie & The City Cruisers - $16,524.33, SRR – Crusin’ For Susan - $10,425, and AdamBots/ Camping Dudes - $10,317. As well as the top five highest individual fundraisers: Susan Schubert from SSR Cruisin' for Susan- $10,425; Grace Drummer from Adambots/Camping Dudes - $4,870, Kristine Terpstra from Cancer Sucks -$4488.05, Rayleen Kraemer from Sole Sisters - $2896 and Ryan Gietzen from Cougars for a Cure - $2005. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to this cause.
“Relay For Life is a perfect example of the great results that can be accomplished through teamwork,” said Rachel Leas the American Cancer Society “By joining together we built strong teams, raised money and united our community in fighting back against cancer.”
Donations can still be made to American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Greater Rochester by visiting www.relayforlife.org/rochestermi. If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Leas at 248.663.3436 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.