Celebrating survivors and their caregivers, donating hair for wigs, and raising funds for the fight against cancer all came together Friday night in Forest Park for the annual Relay For Life “Everyday Super Heroes” event.
Just over $49,000 was raised so far this year for Relay.
“We are still fundraising for the 2013 Relay year until August 31, so any donations to help us reach our $55,000 goal can be turned in,” said American Cancer Society representative Sarah Fuesting.
Shelby Memorial Hospital achieved the sapphire level in fundraising, raising more than $17,000 before the event. Cuffs Against Cancer was a gold level and Cancer Commandoes and the Community Change Makers were both bronze teams. Community Change Makers also won the best campsite award with their military theme.
“Almost every team this year hit a fundraising level, that is awesome! We have some very passionate teams and it shows through their fundraising efforts,” Fuesting said.
Nearly 75 survivors were served in the dinner held prior to the event.
Seven-year old Makyla Chasteen sang the National Anthem and survivor Joleen Parkinson spoke during the opening ceremony. During the Fight Back Ceremony, ACS representative Amelia Sloan spoke on the Lights of Hope program and the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. Paula Chasteen, Cheryl Logsdon, and “Dod” Nihiser donated their hair to be used to make wigs for cancer patients.
Throughout the evening teams continued fundraising with activities such as kids inflatables, dunk tank, bean bag tournaments, face painting, hair painting, midnight swim, basket auctions, sales.
Music was provided by John McMahon, Vincent Beard, and Forest Parker band. DJ Kerry Campbell also provided MC services and music.
“The music was very good. Everyone enjoyed it,” said committee member Kathie Storm. “The turnout from the community was great. We appreciate the teams and community for supporting us.”
The Luminaria ceremony solemnly remembered those who are fighting the disease or who have lost the fight. More than 300 luminaria lined the walking track and names were read.
Later in the evening teams were challenged in a photo scavenger hunt and frozen t-shirt contest as well as themed laps.
“The event was beautiful, the rain never hit and we were able to enjoy every minute of it! The Shelby community really opens its arms to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life and we appreciate all of the support! It was great to see so many survivors out on Friday night,” said Fuesting.
The goal for the year was $55,000. Donations may be sent to American Cancer Society at 2509 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Put Shelby County Relay for Life in the memo line.