VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Staff Writer
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Friday night’s Relay For Life event saw cancer survivors, guest speakers, luminaria, entertaining campsites, basket auctions, Miss Relay contest, and lots of food.
By the end of the evening nearly $53,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
“We had $40,000 before Friday’s event started,” said Shelby County co-chair Jodi Boys. “This is a little short of our goal, but there will be more money coming in.”
This year’s goal was $57,500. Over $68,000 was raised in 2009 and over $67,000 was raised in 2010.
Donations until August 31 will count toward this year’s goal.
Approximately 70 cancer survivors and caregivers were served in a special dinner prior to the opening ceremonies.
“The Fire Department and the Ladies Auxiliary helped out with the cooking the meal, serving and clean-up. They did a great job. I can’t thank them enough,” said survivor chairman Debbie Hammond.
Following the welcome by the county co-chairmen, Roberta Johnson sang the National Anthem.
Gruen VonBehrens of Stewardson was special survivor speaker during the opening ceremony. VonBehrens has undergone numerous surgeries to treat mouth and throat cancer as a result of chewing tobacco use as a youth. He has become a national spokesperson, telling his story to audiences of all ages.
The Survivor Lap led by the VFW Post 4829 Color Guard kicked off the start of team walking laps which continued throughout the night.
During the night a variety of music was provided by Kerry Campbell and All Kindz of Soundz DJ Service. Keyless Entry Barbershop Quartet and Mark Montgomery band also provided music to entertain the teams and attendees.
Other activities included Kid’s Corner, dance performances by Dance Inc., and an unveiling of a pink motorcycle donated by Fighting Chance Customs to benefit breast cancer patients in Shelby County.
ACS funded researcher Dr. Huigens was guest speaker for the Fight Back rally.
Nearly 250 luminaria lit the walk in remembrance of cancer victims and survivors. The names were read during the luminaria ceremony. Participating in the ceremony were Hannah Apple on trumpet, vocalist Tashina Clutter, readers Julie Elbert, Gwyn and Jesse Helton.
“We were down a bit in the number of luminaria, but it is still a good ceremony,” said Gayla Jones, luminaria chairman.
More photos from the Relay can be seen at www.shelbyvilledailyunion.com